It is well known throughout the medical world that ‘Christie Hospital and Holt Radium Institute’, for that is its official title, is one on the leading ‘Centres of Excellence’ for the treatment of cancers in Europe and – perhaps – the world.
As I mentioned earlier, Daniel was admitted to a small, separately funded unit built onto the side of the main hospital. It is called the Adult Leukaemia Unit, A.L.U. for short. Please bear in mind that the A.L.U. unit is separately funded.
The A.L.U. unit was opened in 1986, just a few short years ago, by monies donated by peoples of the North West.
Since then, great strides have been accomplished, one of which is the innovation of ‘Stem Cell’ transplants, a wonderful system developed at the A.L.U. and the Christie.
The A.L.U. was specially built to provide specialist care for Leukaemia patients and patients in need of bone marrow transplants from related donors. It was initially a ten bedded unit, six of which were en-suite. It sounds really posh, but in reality it means isolation – total isolation.
Professor Howard Scarffe, Daniel’s consultant, stated that the unit required an additional eight beds to meet the demand for the new innovative ‘Stem Cell’ transplants These would allow Leukaemia Lymphoma and certain other cancer patients to be given intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy safely. Stem Cells can be collected from the patient’s blood during treatment, frozen and then restored to the patient after treatment, to help restore the immune system without fear of rejection. This technique has boosted the success rate of high dose chemotherapy and halved the risk period for serious infection. It was vitally important for the unit to be able to offer this new, potentially life saving treatment to as many people as possible.
The extension was opened in Spring 1997, and now enables one hundred transplants to be performed annually, and fifty new Leukaemia patients to be treated. This is a truly amazing accomplishment. There is also an on-site laboratory, improved outpatients’ facilities and additional office space for a multi-disciplinary team.
As the Adult Leukaemia Unit is a very progressive unit, charitable monies are needed to provide specialised and up to date equipment, to assist with patient management, to help with and improve medical and nursing management, and to improve the research facilities.
Charitable monies are used to provide patients with extra additional amenities. Televisions, radios, tape and CD players, telephones etc, all assist in making the patient’s stay in hospital just that little bit more bearable whilst undergoing some of the more horrific treatments.