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Therapeutic apheresis treatments


We provide a wide range of therapies across multiple clinical specialties

Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP)

ECP is used to treat Graft versus Host Disease (a potential complication following a bone marrow transplant) and cancer of the lymphatic system, which affects the skin. White blood cells are collected from the blood, treated with a light activated drug then exposed to ultraviolet light before being returned to the patient. This treatment is currently provided from our Bristol, Oxford, Manchester, and Liverpool units.

Extracorporeal Photopheresis patient leaflet (PDF 365KB)

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection (PBSC)

This is the collection, from either patients or donors, of stem cells, which are circulating in the blood. These stem cells are used for bone marrow transplantation, most commonly to treat patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma (following chemotherapy) to replace or replenish their own bone marrow. This treatment is provided in our Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and London units.

PatientsPeripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection (PBSC) patient leaflet (PDF 344KB)

Donors -  Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection (PBSC) donor leaflet (PDF 359KB)

Therapeutic Plasma Exchange

The process is used to treat many different conditions, such as myeloma, multiple sclerosis, and some leukaemias. Blood is made up of red cells, white cells, and platelets, which are carried around in fluid called plasma. This procedure removes plasma from the patient's blood and replaces it with fresh donor plasma or bottled human albumin solution. This treatment is provided in our Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and London units.

Plasma Exchange patient leaflet (PDF 353KB)

Low Density Lipid Removal

This procedure is used to treat people who have naturally high levels of cholesterol in their blood, which are unresponsive to diet or medication. This puts the person at high risk of circulation problems such as heart attacks. The treatment involves the removal of cholesterol from the blood using filtration technology. This treatment is provided in our Bristol and Leeds units.

Lymphocyte Collection

If you have donated bone marrow or peripheral stem cells, you might be asked to donate lymphocytes at a later date. Lymphocytes are white bloods cells, which help you fight diseases. A transfusion of lymphocytes can help boost a patient’s immune system in the months or even years after a bone marrow transplant. This procedure is provided in our Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and London units.

Red Cell Exchange

This procedure is used to treat conditions that affect the function of the red blood cells, such as Sickle Cell disease. It is also used to remove some disease causing elements, such as malaria parasites, which are carried in red blood cells. The treatment involves the complete removal and replacement of a patient's red blood cells. This treatment is provided in our Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham, and London units.

Download our Red Cell Exchange leaflet (PDF 353KB)

Download information for patients with sickle cell disease who may need a blood transfusion (PDF 2.4MB)

Blood Component Transfusion

Blood transfusion is the replacement of blood, or specific cells within the blood. For example, you may need a Red Cell Exchange procedure/transfusion if you have sickle cell disease. Other reasons for blood transfusion, and considerations for babies and children, are detailed in the following leaflets.

Blood Transfusion for Adults leaflet (PDF 378KB)

Blood Transfusion for Children leaflet (PDF 932KB)

Blood Transfusion for Babies leaflet (PDF 348KB)

Platelet Depletion

Platelets are tiny cells that work with the clotting plasma in blood to prevent serious bleeding. Some diseases cause patients to have too high levels of platelets, which puts them at risk of circulation problems, which can lead to strokes. This procedure reduces the amount of platelets in a patient’s blood. It is provided in our Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and London units.

White Cell Depletion

White blood cells are our body’s natural defence mechanism against infection, but too many white blood cells can cause problems. Certain diseases, such as leukaemia and immune disorders, can cause white blood cells to rise dangerously high and result in strokes or loss of sight. This procedure removes white cells in patients with very high levels. It is provided in our Bristol, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and London units.

Granulocyte Collection

Granulocytes are a type of white blood cell that attack and break down bacteria and viruses when you are suffering from an infection. Some patients can become dangerously short of granulocytes, either as a result of their illness or because of the treatment they are receiving. Granulocyte donations are not required very often, but when they are needed, it is usually urgent, and they must be given to the patient within 24 hours after donation. This procedure is provided in our Bristol unit.

Donor Information Granulocyte Collection leaflet (PDF 353KB) 

CAR T Cell Therapy

CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell therapy is a new treatment for some types of cancer. White blood cells are collected from the patient’s blood before being modified in a laboratory to target their cancer. The modified immune cells are then given to the patient to treat, or in some cases cure, cancer where other treatments have failed. Cell collection for CAR T cell therapy is provided in our Bristol, London and Manchester Therapeutic Apheresis units and will commence in our Leeds unit in 2020.

Nitya was the first patient to receive CAR T cell therapy at the University of Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. Learn more about her story in this video.



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