A motorbike loving grandad who thought he had run out of options to beat his recurring cancer has told how he has got his life back after receiving a revolutionary new treatment at University Hospital Southampton (UHS).

Peter Garland was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy, but after a brief period in remission was told his cancer had returned.

But the father of two and grandfather of two is now enjoying life on two wheels, celebrating being cancer-free after becoming the first patient to receive CAR T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) therapy in Southampton.

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CAR T is a highly complex treatment being offered at UHS – the first hospital trust in the South East to offer the treatment, meaning patients from across the region no longer have to travel to London.

It’s a form of cellular therapy which involves collecting and using the patients’ own modified immune cells to treat their condition.

For patients like 71-year-old Peter, a watch repairer in Jersey, it’s given him his life back.

Daily Echo: Peter Garland

He 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.

“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.”

CAR T cell therapy has been proved to be effective for some blood cancers. It takes time to plan and deliver and involves a patient being in isolation for several weeks. While it could be offered to Peter, not all patients are suitable.

The launch of the centre at UHS last year forms part of a national expansion in CAR T provision by NHS England, which has seen six new centres open in the last year. Over 1,300 people have received CAR T treatment since its introduction.