Ground Broken for New Cell Processing Center
On Jan. 22, the Clinical Center celebrated the groundbreaking of a new cellular processing facility on the southeast patio of Bldg. 10 and establishment of the CC department of transfusion medicine’s Center for Cellular Engineering (CCE). The facility marks the most recent expansion of DTM’s growing capacity to support intramural cellular therapy protocols.
The CCE will operate under the guidance of DTM chief Dr. Harvey Klein and deputy chief Dr. Bill Ward. Dr. David Stroncek will direct daily CCE operations.
Attendees included NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, hospital CEO Dr. James Gilman and Adm. Brett Giroir, HHS assistant secretary for health. They emphasized that the groundbreaking underscores the continued commitment at the Clinical Center to lead the science of precision medicine and develop new and more effective therapies for patients who come to the CC to find hope where none existed.
The expansion from DTM’s Cell Processing Center into the Center for Cellular Engineering reflects the strategic plan of the NIH intramural research program for new and more effective cellular and precision treatments. It is NIH’s response to increased investigator demand from institutes such as NCI, NHLBI, NEI and NIAID with protocols across a wide range of cellular research including CAR-T immunotherapies for cancers and rare diseases, pluripotent stem cells for macular degeneration, gene therapies for epithelial cancer and CRISPR/Cas to edit DNA as a potentially safer, faster and more effective treatment for sickle cell and other diseases.
Thirty-four clinical trial protocols, such as those involving complex cell and gene therapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplants, rely on the CCE. By 2020, 12 more protocols are expected to be up and running.
In 2018, the cell processing section included 11 rooms for cellular engineering as well as laboratories to develop and characterize novel cellular products. By 2021, this is expected to double. To accommodate this expansion, additional space for the CCE is being renovated on the 12th floor of the CC’s E-wing.