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New stem cell transplant unit opens at Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital

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New stem cell transplant unit opens at Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital

A newly expanded unit at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre dedicated to stem cell transplant and blood cancer therapies will start accepting patients in November 2020. - Handout

On Friday (Oct. 30), Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) opened a new unit at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC) dedicated to stem cell transplants and treatment of blood cancers.

The Ron and Nancy Clark Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapies Unit is now one of three centres in Ontario providing all forms of stem cell transplants to adult cancer patients.

The new unit includes:

  • State-of-the-art design for a healing environment
  • 15 new inpatient rooms
  • 5 new outpatient bays
  • Two lounge areas for family and friends, both equipped with kitchens
  • Expanded outpatient area for Hematology in the Juravinski Cancer centre
  • Expanded laboratory and pharmacy space

“Our hematology team is second to none, and this unit will allow them to continue building on HHS’ leadership in the treatment and research of blood cancers,” said Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences in a statement.

The first-ever successful stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor was performed at Juravinski more than three decades ago by Dr. Irwin Walker.

Since then, the hospital has earned a reputation for being a world leader in this area of treatment and research.

“My brother, Vince, had a stem cell transplant in 2015. I know firsthand the good work that is done in the unit and how important it is to patients and their families,” said Charles Criminisi, Chair, HHS Board of Directors and Chair, Tomorrow Stems From You campaign, which helped raise funds for the project.

In all, the newly expanded unit cost $25 million. Most funds were provided by the provincial government and an additional $5M was raised by the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation through the campaign mentioned above.

According to a press release sent out Friday, in 2019-2020, JHCC performed 285 stem cell transplants, representing a nearly 106 per cent increase over the previous five years.

Stem cells, which are considered the the building blocks of the blood system, are used to treat many different illnesses including blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.

A stem cell transplant replaces a patient’s diseased stem cells with a matching donor’s healthy cells to help fight the cancer.

“We are truly honoured to have this important unit named for Ron and myself,” said Nancy Clark, for whom the unit is named for and a donor, in the release.

“We are grateful that his memory will always live on in this unit and through the amazing work that the teams at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre passionately perform every day.”

The unit will start accepting patients in November.

Visit their websites to learn more about the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre and Hamilton Health Sciences.

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