BMT Center: Now It’s the Transplant & Cellular Therapy Center

New Name Reflects Center’s Expanded Role in Providing Latest Cellular Therapies
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 1:13pm

Roswell Park’s Blood & Marrow Transplant (BMT) Center has a new name: the Transplant & Cellular Therapy (TCT) Center. That’s because in addition to BMT, the center now provides other types of cellular therapy — and, together with the Center for Immunotherapy (CFI), it’s rapidly adding more treatment options in that category.

“We offer a large number of cellular therapies, and we want to make ourselves a destination for these treatments throughout the Northeast and down the Atlantic Seaboard,” says Philip McCarthy, MD, Director of the TCT Center. “We can offer patients novel treatments that they might not otherwise have access to locally.” These innovative, next-generation cell therapies are developed at the CFI's cGMP Therapeutic Cell Production Facility and then administered to patients by the TCT Center. 

Roswell Park offers various types of cellular therapy called adoptive cell therapy (ACT), which use the patient’s own T lymphocytes — special cells that help the immune system attack cancer — in place of chemotherapy or radiation. T cells are collected from the patient’s blood, multiplied in a laboratory and then given back to the patient. "Re-engineering" these cells is a way of helping them recognize and fight cancer more effectively.

One type of ACT, called CAR T-cell therapy, has shown significant promise in the treatment of specific types of cancer, especially leukemia and lymphoma. In 2017 the FDA approved the first two CAR T-cell therapies, tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah®) and axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®). This year Roswell Park earned a place among only 35 centers nationwide that are authorized to provide those therapies. 

Roswell Park also offers newer cellular therapies through clinical trials, including other types of ACT, such as TCR-engineered T-cell therapy, Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte (TIL) therapy and NK cell therapy. Several clinical trials opened at Roswell Park are unique and available nowhere else, reflecting the mission of the CFI, led by Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, which is to develop novel cellular therapies for cancer. The TCT Center oversees the clinical care of all patients receiving these novel therapies before, during and after treatment. 

Because patients receiving adoptive T-cell therapy go through many of the same procedures as BMT patients, expanding the former BMT Center to include cellular therapy made perfect sense, according to Stephen Schinnagel, Transplant Program Administrator. He adds that the skill and experience of the BMT staff made for a smooth transition.

Roswell Park was among the first centers in the world to routinely offer blood and marrow transplants and has performed more than 2,650 BMTs over the past 27 years. 

Schinnagel says that although blood and marrow transplant is a type of cellular therapy, Roswell Park will continue to use the terms “BMT” and “transplant” when referring to BMT, because people looking for information about the treatment tend to be more familiar with those terms.

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Quick Facts

  • Roswell Park’s BMT Center is now called the Transplant & Cellular Therapy (TCT) Center.
  • The center oversees the clinical care of all patients undergoing blood & marrow transplant (BMT) and adoptive cellular therapy, including CAR T-cell  and TCR-engineered T-cell therapy.
  • Roswell Park's TCT Center and the CFI's Therapeutic Cell Production Shared Resource (TCPSR) are accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for both cellular therapy and blood & marrow transplant (BMT), which means the programs meet or exceed the highest standards of safety in cell collection and transplantation, and that staff members have the education, training and experience to provide patients with the specialized care they need.
  • Roswell Park was among the first centers in the world to routinely offer blood & marrow transplants.
  • In 2018 Roswell Park became one of only 35 centers nationwide authorized to provide the FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies Kymriah® and Yescarta®.
  • Roswell Park offers clinical trials of the latest blood & marrow transplant (BMT) treatments and cellular therapies for a range of cancers and hematologic (blood-based) diseases.