Advanced stem cell therapy to help send cancer patients home sooner comes to Northampton

The staff of the Talbot Butler ward where the new advanced stem cell therapy is now available.
The staff of the Talbot Butler ward where the new advanced stem cell therapy is now available.

A specialist stem cell transplant therapy used in the last stages of treating cancer has arrived at Northampton General Hospital.

Patients can now be treated closer to home when before they would have to travel to Leicester to get the advanced form of chemotherapy.

The treatment, known as an autologous stem cell transplant, involves taking a patient’s own stem cells and infusing them back into the blood after a high dose of chemotherapy to eradicate their cancer.

Chemotherapy destroys bone marrow and the immune system, which can leave the patient open to potentially life-threatening infections.

The new service at Northampton General Hospital means poorly inpatients can go home sooner by kickstarting their body’s ability to produce healthy white blood cells sooner.

Haematologist Dr Jane Parker said: “A local transplant service offers treatment closer to home for patients and it’s delivered by the healthcare professionals they are familiar with, so there are clear advantages in terms of our patients’ experience.

“It’s been made possible thanks to the hard work and collaboration between the transplant teams, managers and quality management teams at Northampton and University Hospitals of Leicester.”

It takes up to three months or more to make a full recovery from the treatment. They also receive their childhood vaccinations again at six months because their original immune system has been eradicated.

During their four-week stay in hospital, patients are nursed in single rooms with special air filters to reduce the risk of infection.