New stem cell isolation unit praised

13 May 2013 Last updated at 06:42 ET

Patients have praised a stem cell isolation unit which has opened at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

People from Devon and Cornwall who need protective isolation after a stem cell transplant now no longer have to travel to Bristol or London.

The unit is for leukaemia or lymphoma adult patients whose immune systems have been depleted by chemotherapy.

Paul Bates, a patient from Torpoint in Cornwall, described the new unit as "palatial".

After a transplant patients will spend from three to six weeks in the 2.7m state-of-the-art unit.

Stem cells are sometimes given to cancer patients to replace the red and white cells and platelets in blood which chemotherapy treatment has killed off.

Previously, the hospital was only able to carry out transplants if the stem cells were harvested directly from the patient or a relative, but can now also treat patients who need non-related donor stem cells.

The haematopoietic stem cell transplant unit, with 10 single en-suite rooms, has been built in the hospital's former Bracken ward.

"The facilities are so much better than the ones we had before," consultant haematologist Dr Hannah Hunter told BBC News.

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New stem cell isolation unit praised

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