Revolutionary NHS cancer treatment means grandad can live life to the full

peter garland cancer treatment
Peter has a passion for motorbikes and is making the most of being cancer-free Credit: UHS NHS Trust

A grandfather from the Isle of Wight who feared he was out of options to overcome his recurring cancer has praised a new type of treatment.

Peter Garland was diagnosed with lymphoma but despite chemotherapy the cancer returned.

However, his outlook has improved dramatically after becoming the first person in Southampton to receive a form of cellular therapy.

CAR T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) is a highly complex treatment which uses a patients' own modified immune cells to to tackle their condition.

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It's meant the 71-year old father of two is now cancer-free.

Peter said: “I had reached the point where chemotherapy just wasn’t cutting it and my cancer had returned.

"There wasn’t another option. I was told that if I was suitable, having this treatment would give me the best chance of ensuring the lymphoma didn’t return.

"I feel incredibly lucky to have been offered this treatment and to have come through it so well.

Peter after his lymphoma returned for a second time Credit: UHS NHS Trust

University Hospitals Southampton is the first NHS Trust in the South East to offer the revolutionary therapy outside of London, meaning people no longer have to travel to the capital.

The process involves cells being harvested from a patient and then reprogrammed before being infused back into the patient so they can target their cancer.

While not everyone is suitable, 21 patients have so far been treated with CAR T by the hospital.

Sara Main, Lead Nurse, Bone Marrow Transplant and Cell Therapy, said, "Adding CAR T cell therapy to the repertoire of treatments we can offer patients at UHS is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work and dedication.

"It takes ongoing vision and commitment of the doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals together with our quality team to deliver these treatments safely and effectively. It also requires collaboration with many other departments within - and other organisations outside - the hospital.

"We want to not only be able to give all the treatments that are available to patients that may benefit them but to think ahead to our patients and families of the future, as there will be more people who may be helped by this and other types of cellular therapy."

Peter, who is a motorbike enthusiast, is still working as a watch repairer in Jersey and is enjoying spending time with his family which includes two grandchilrden.

He added, "When I was ill everything had to stop. I couldn’t get out on the bikes at all. But having that interest and my family and friends of course, was all the incentive I needed to get well again.

"I feel sharing the experience is the least I can do in return, to try and give other people who are starting out on a similar journey some confidence.”

"It has already given me another year and I have been able to get back on with my life and that’s amazing.

"It’s now up to me to ensure I take good care of myself, out of respect for all that has been done for me if nothing else.”

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