Romford hospital a global leader in fighting bowel disease

PATIENTS suffering from chronic conditions which have blighted their lives are travelling from around the world for treatment at Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

The hospital, in Rom Valley Way, is the only one in the UK providing regular clinics to tackle difficult and steroid dependent inflammatory bowel disease with a revolutionary treatment.

Dr Prem Premchand, consultant gastroenterologist, explained: “With inflammatory bowel disease, your own body thinks that the lining of the bowel wall is foreign, so your immune system fights against it, causing inflammation

“The treatment we provide brings our immune system balance back on a gradual basis. It is very safe and used to avoid surgery.”

The treatment is called white cell apheresis, with patients’ blood passed through a column of cellulose acetate beads.

The beads mop up activated bad cells from the circulation allowing the bone marrow to produce fresh inactive cells.

Dr Premchand, who is a pioneer in this field, said: “People are seeing long-term improvements with this treatment and have been extremely grateful. Most had been dependant on steroid use or facing surgery.”

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Each session of treatment lasts about two hours, and most patients receive one a week for around eight weeks.

“This is an outpatient procedure and patients can continue as normal immediately after the treatment,” said Dr Premchand. “We are attracting referrals for this service from all over the UK.”

One patient has already travelled to the hospital from the Isle of Wight for treatment, and another is coming from Seattle in the USA because while cell apheresis is not available over there.

Dr Premchand said: “We have the expertise to offer a world class service. We are also expanding so that patients suffering from refractory Crohn’s disease can also be helped.”