A 71-YEAR-OLD Islander is celebrating being cancer free after receiving a revolutionary new treatment in the UK.
Peter Garland was the first patient to receive chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy at University Hospital Southampton.
The complex form of cellular therapy involves collecting and using the patient’s own modified immune cells to treat their condition.
Mr Garland, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2021, originally underwent chemotherapy, but after a brief period in remission was told his cancer had returned.
Not all patients are suitable for CAR T-cell therapy, which comes with risks and will not cure all recipients – but it is capable of helping those with advanced cancers where other available treatments have failed.
It is the newest treatment being delivered by the Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy programme team at UHS, with 21 patients having received the treatment in its first year.
Mr Garland 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.”
He continued: “I feel incredibly lucky to have been offered this treatment and to have come through it so well.
“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.”
The grandfather-of-two still works as a watch repairer, but a lot of his time is spent with family and friends.
He also has a passion for motorcycling, having been riding since the age of 16.
Mr Garland said: “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.”
Over 1,300 people have received CAR T-cell therapy treatment via the NHS in England since its introduction, with the provision at UHS among six new centres to offer the treatment in the country over the past year.