Purchasing of ECP (Extracorporeal Photophoresis) machines for hospitals in Halifax
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According to several experts (Dermnet NZ, Stanford University, National Institutes of Health, Cleveland Clinic) ECP machines can be used to treat a host of conditions safely and with little side effects and low risk. Some of the conditions that can be treated with ECP according to experts are:
T cell Lymphoma
Graft Vs Host disease (Transplant Rejection)
These are a few of the applications that are currently being treated with ECP around the world and the potential exists for treatment for other conditions. There currently are ECP machines in several major cities in Canada (Calgary, Hamilton, Toronto, Vancouver, Saskatoon) with the exception of Halifax, Nova Scotia which is presumably the leading tertiary or acute care center in the Maritimes. There is a machine at the Saint John Regional Hospital in Saint John NB.
At this time, Nova Scotia patients who are in need of this treatment are faced with leaving the province to receive treatment at a great cost. A cost which is not reimbursed most times. For patients living in certain parts of Nova Scotia there is access to the Travel Assistance fund however for most patients in the central part of the province this assistance is not available. The effect is that hard working folks in the central part of the province are unable to access the appropriate treatment for their condition unless they are willing to take on a lot of debt, dip into their retirement and for some that isn't even an option.
The time is now for Nova Scotia to invest in this technology given that the hospital in Halifax is being restructured. The cost is reasonable and I believe that having this immunotherapy option available will also help to retain and attract medical talent.
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