University College London Hospitals Charity (UCLH)

A new stem cell transplant unit at University College Hospital

For life-threatening blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma, a bone marrow or stem cell transplant can be a vital part of treatment. In 2022, we awarded a grant of £500,000 to go towards the stem cell transplant unit at University College Hospital. It’s a new facility where patients will receive the very latest treatments, backed by world class research and clinical trials.

One of the largest in Europe, the unit has 15 individual patient rooms. When having stem cell treatment, patients stay for an average of four to six weeks and can’t usually leave their room due to risk of infection. The space has been designed around this, with storage space for patients and their families and a free TV to keep them entertained (other parts of the hospital charge for this).

  • The UCLH Stem Cell Transplant unit is one of the biggest in Europe.
  • UCLH has 65 haematology consultants and 51 specialist nurses, plus 107 other haematology specialists like pharmacists and psychologists.
  • In 2021, 66% of haematology patients at UCLH were asked to participate in a clinical trial compared with a National average for cancer patients of 44%.
Above: Dr Soma Pujari being presented with a certificate of recognition from Baroness Neuberger, Chair UCLH

Life-saving clinical trials

The new centre not only allows more patients to be treated in dedicated bone marrow transplant wards, but there will be more opportunities for patients to be involved in clinical trials. This means research can take place into the effectiveness of transplants in different patient groups at different stages in their disease. And the patients involved will have the best care, helping to minimise the side effects of their treatment.

With the space and opportunity for researchers to test and refine new treatments, the unit has the potential to help save many more lives.

“UCLH’s state of the art stem cell transplant and cell therapy unit will be one of the UK’s largest, enabling our clinicians to treat more patients, increase the number of patients on trials, gather translational data, test and refine new therapies and accelerate the process of discovery in new scientific areas. It will do this at the same time as providing dignity, comfort and improved medical outcomes for our patients, including those who have failed standard treatment and represent unmet clinical need.”

David Probert, Chief Executive, UCLH

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