Vitalant is one of the stem cell collection providers of choice offering Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell collection in: Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Montvale, NJ; Lubbock, TX; Las Vegas, NV; and Spokane, WA. Stem cells are harvested from peripheral blood using special instruments that separate out the cells.
Progenitor cells, also known as stem cells, are immature cells that give rise to all the components of the bone marrow and immune system including red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. The type of blood cell a progenitor cell develops into is determined by the specific needs of your body, and through the stimulus of “growth factors.”
Patients may be treated one of two ways:
- Autologous transplant - a patient’s own peripheral blood progenitor cells are used.
- Allogeneic transplant - cells collected from a donor, who can be a related or non-related donor, are used.
Stem cell collection is done prior to the patient being treated with high dose chemotherapy and then the stem cells are frozen/stored for transplant. Cells from a donor do not need to be frozen, they may be transplanted soon after the stem cell collection. After the transplant, the progenitor cells migrate to the bone marrow and begin the process of creating new blood cells.
To boost the number of stem cells in the blood before the stem cell collection occurs, patient/donor receive a series of injections with a growth factor, specifically GCSF (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor). GCSF helps the body make more stem cells and move them into the bloodstream. When sufficient cells are in the blood stream (measured by a CD34 count) collection begins.
Blood is drawn from the patient/donor during the Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell collections and processed through a centrifuge where cells are separated, the MNC/Progenitor cells are collected in a sterile container, and the rest of the blood (red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) are returned.
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR-T) Cell Collections
Vitalant also offers Chimeric Antigen Receptor or CAR-T cell collections, a new form of immunotherapy that uses specially altered T cells (a type of immune system cell) to target cancer cells more specifically. There are several FDA approved CAR-T treatments that are the standard of care for some forms of blood cancers. Vitalant has been an active participant in several clinical trials supported by various bio-tech companies for the past three years.
CAR-T treatment involves modifying a patient's T cells in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. After a sample of a patient’s T cells has been collected from the blood via an HPC collection, the cells are re-engineered to sprout special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. When these CAR T cells are infused into the patient’s blood, the receptors may help the T cells identify and attack cancer cells throughout the body.
Vitalant’s CAR-T cell collection is currently offered at large academic or urban hospitals. A patient’s attending oncologist determines whether the service is appropriate and patient is eligible.