Specialist unit for North West patients opens at The Christie

Press Release Posted 05 November 2012

Patients from across the North West will benefit from a new unit, offering a specialist therapy, Extracorporal Photopheresis, which has opened at The Christie.

NHSBT staff who run the photopheresis unit: from left to right Amanda Calderwood (nurse practitioner), Jessica Roberts (unit assistant), Sandra Jones (lead nurse), Janet Thornton (nurse practitioner) and Sue Slater (nurse practitioner)

NHSBT staff who run the photopheresis unit: from left to right Amanda Calderwood (nurse practitioner), Jessica Roberts (unit assistant), Sandra Jones (lead nurse), Janet Thornton (nurse practitioner) and Sue Slater (nurse practitioner)

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has teamed up with The Christie, a specialist cancer centre, to provide the service at their main site in Manchester.

Extracorporal photopheresis (ECP) is a highly specialised two-day process which involves using cutting-edge equipment to remove the white cells from a patient's blood. These are then treated using ultraviolet light, and returned to the patient.

ECP is used to treat patients with conditions including graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and for severe cases of cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. GVHD is a complication that can occur after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant in which the newly transplanted donor cells attack the transplant recipient's body. Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma| of the skin.

The ECP unit will treat outpatients from across the region and allow NHSBT to meet increasing demand for the service. It will also place patients close to treatment and services provided by The Christie.

The ECP department was officially opened at an event at The Christie on Friday 2 November 2012 with patients and NHSBT and Christie staff in attendance.

Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHSBT, said: "Whilst we may be better known for managing the collection and supply of blood to hospitals in England and North Wales and for organ donation throughout the UK, the work we do here demonstrates clearly that we offer a specialist service that is responsive to the needs of patients.

"We are delighted to be working with The Christie to provide this life-enhancing treatment to patients from across the North West."

Chief Executive at The Christie, Caroline Shaw, said; "We are delighted to officially welcome this new facility to The Christie today.

"This cutting edge treatment will benefit so many of our cancer patients through access to specialist services and expert care without the need to travel.

"We constantly strive to make experiences better for our patients and this is a great example of how collaborative working within the NHS can make this happen."

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