A mother-of-two who raised more than £320,000 to have groundbreaking cancer therapy in the US has been given the green light to instead begin treatment in England.
Roz Paterson, 52, will start Car-T Cell Therapy at King’s College Hospital in London within the next fortnight, after meeting with the consultant there who carried out basic tests and decided she was fit enough to begin the eight-week process.
Ms Paterson, from Beauly in the Highlands, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer known as Large Diffuse B-Cell Lymphoma (LDBCL)
After four rounds of chemotherapy failed, she was left considering alternative types of treatment including the pioneering new remedy Car-T Cell Therapy. This involves reprogramming Ms Paterson’s own immune system cells, which are then used to target the cancer. Her T-cells will be genetically modified in California, the only place in the world that carries out the process, before being put back into her body around four weeks later via infusion.
Ms Paterson was all set to travel to the US with husband Malcolm McDonald, 63, and her two children, Thea, 13, and David, 10, for treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and was well on the way to raising the £500,000 required for what she described as her “last chance”.
However, the Scottish Government performed a dramatic U-turn last week after a decision was taken by the NHS Scotland exceptional funding committee to pay for her treatment on NHS England.
The £320,000 Ms Paterson had raised via crowdfunding was promptly refunded.
She said: “I’m so relieved and I’m really excited about the fact that I’m now in the system and it’s actually going to happen.
“I think a lot of people with Cart T-Cell feel huge relief and excitement because it’s such a promising therapy.
“I saw my new consultant and she’s feeling confident and was very reassuring.
“I should be seen in two weeks as that’s when my T-cells will be harvested and sent to California.
“That takes four weeks, and then I get the infusion of super Cart T-cells back into my body and that hopefully will be the beginning of the end of the cancer.”
She added: “I’m still feeling good and I’ve come off the chemo drugs and the steroids as you’ve got to clean your system out before the T-cell harvesting takes place.
“I’m definitely up for it.
“They were great, just what you’d expect from a NHS situation, just really welcoming and very professional.”