The Clinical Cell Therapy (CCT) Laboratory at BC Cancer Research Centre is responsible for the preparation of cellular therapies for British Columbia and Yukon. As part of the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC, CCT Laboratory is a FACT-accredited facility that follows Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines for the processing of clinical grade products. Successful processing, storage, and infusion of products is accomplished through strict adherence to validated protocols and rigorous monitoring of all facets of the laboratory.

Hematopoietic cell transplantation, a treatment prescribed for a variety of cancers such as leukemia, myeloma, germ-cell tumours, or lymphoma, relies on hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) to allow recovery of normal blood counts after high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation that would otherwise stop blood cell production. HPCs collected from either cancer patients themselves (autologous) or healthy donors (allogeneic) are processed and cryopreserved in the CCT Laboratory at ultra-low temperatures using liquid nitrogen until after the patient has received high dose chemotherapy. The thawed HPC product is then infused into the patient, allowing for blood cell recovery. Over the past 30 years, HPC collections have been processed and cryopreserved to help patients from throughout British Columbia and Yukon. Currently, over 500 patient products are stored in the laboratory’s liquid nitrogen vapour phase freezers. Approximately 400 procedures were performed in 2018 alone.

Under the direction of Dr. Kevin Hay, the CCT Laboratory continues to play a key role in facilitating the design and implementation of new therapies for patients in the Leukemia/BMT Program of BC. Currently, the staff is involved in several new protocols, including CAR T-cell infusions and the processing of serum eyedrops for patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease.

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