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24 December 2019
Cancer care
Patient services

Nancy Huntley, Lead Nurse for Apheresis, explains more about her work during Christmas with patients donating stem cells and bone marrow and caring for those waiting for transplants.

Nancy Huntley at work in The London Clinic

“Christmas at The London Clinic is a special and busy time,” says Nancy, who works in the Haematology (blood cancer) Outpatient department.  

“The London Clinic is the busiest donor centre in Europe and the work to harvest stem cells takes on a special significance over the Christmas period.

The London Clinic works closely with Anthony Nolan, a blood cancer charity, to help people searching for a blood cancer donor match. For example, In December last year, Will Briant received an email that informed him he had come up as a potential match for a blood cancer patient in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. Will donated stem cells at The London Clinic.

“On the day of the harvest, the person donating is attached to a cell separator machine and immature blood cells called stem cells are removed,” says Nancy. “These cells are then taken by courier to the patient’s hospital, which could be anywhere in the world, including the USA and sometimes even Australia. This provides a lifeline for these patients and can result in a complete cure of their blood cancer.

“Additionally, we work with donors from the bone marrow registries (such as charity DKMS) if the registry has matched them with a patient requiring an unrelated bone marrow donation. I’ll be working over the festive period, which is a very rewarding time. I’ll also be spending time with my sons and extended family.”

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