Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy

Led by Catherine Bollard, MD, the Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy (CETI) seeks to understand how we can co-opt the body's own immune system to combat cancer, infections, and disorders of immunity, for example, graft-versus host disease (GvHD), autoimmunity and immune deficiency. The program also focuses on developing cell therapy for regenerative medicine covering ischemic disorders, tissue damage, and wound healing. Our goal is to facilitate translational research, moving novel cell therapies from the bench to the clinic for a broad range of diseases from cancer and post-transplant complications to chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases, and new applications of cell therapy for cardiac, neurological, and pulmonary diseases.

The good laboratory practices (GLP) facility of CETI is a controlled immunology laboratory designed to characterize both immunotherapy products for infusion and patient samples before and after immune-based therapy treatments. It is staffed by highly-trained research technicians and scientists equipped to culture, assay, store, and analyze any immune cell and sample that needs immunologic characterization. Through the GLP, immune reconstitution in patients is analyzed and products for infusion are checked for both potency and toxicity.

The translational research laboratory (TRL) of the of CETI is a highly-advanced, pre-clinical facility designed to develop cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of malignancies, pathogens, and immune dysfunctions currently refractory to standard therapies. The TRL investigators are trained in immunology, gene therapy, molecular and cell biology, and medicine, and work together to harness the body’s own defense and repair systems against disease. Through the TRL, novel findings in the basic immunology and cancer sciences are translated into promising therapies with the ultimate goal of curing cancer, opportunistic infections, and inflammatory disease.

CETI’s good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility is a state-of-the-art cell manufacturing facility (or clean room). Opened in 2013, it is designed to manufacture novel cell therapies for patients enrolled in clinical trials at Children’s National and other institutions. The facility is classified as class 10,000 and is suitable to manufacture various therapies ranging from T cells that target viruses or leukemia to Mesenchymal stromal cells as a therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. In addition to manufacturing the products, the facility is responsible for ensuring the identity, strength, quality, and purity of any product released for clinical use as an investigational new drug. Read more about our cellular therapy labs.

Faculty with interests in immune cell therapies: