MetroHealth first safety net hospital to produce in-house immunotherapies

Cleveland-based MetroHealth recently completed construction of its vector and cellular Good Manufacturing Practice facility and became the first safety net hospital to offer in-house viral vector and cellular therapies.

Once open, the 1,300-square-foot facility has the potential to significantly cut the cost and patient wait time for immunotherapy treatment, William Tse, MD, division director of hematology and oncology at MetroHealth, told Becker's. It is equipped to produce cellular immunotherapies, including chimeric antigen receptor T-cell and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes cancer therapies.

There's a major bottleneck in production due to the individualized nature of the treatment, Dr. Tse said. Many patients die waiting for treatment, even the ones with the resources to access them. This center democratizes immunotherapy and makes it available to the vulnerable patient population MetroHealth serves, he noted.

“MetroHealth is different from most transplant hospitals in that we are able to develop and produce our cellular immunotherapies from A to Z in-house," Dr. Tse said. "Cellular immunotherapy, including CAR-T cell therapy, is one of the most powerful cancer treatments today and can play an important role in hard to treat diseases like sickle cell disease. Our team is investing in the future by bringing these effective cellular immunotherapies to our patients."

The facility, which is currently undergoing sterilization cleaning, is hoping to begin patient treatments in the next six months.

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