Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy

The Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy (CETI), led by Catherine Bollard, M.D., is a multidisciplinary, cross-platform, translational center within the Children’s Research Institute of Children’s National Health System and the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. It is comprised of faculty members with complementary research interests in immunology, cancer biology, clinical oncology, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and molecular and cellular biology. By bringing together basic scientists and clinicians with expertise in cancer, transplant, infectious disease, allergy and immunology and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases, we can develop new therapies for patients that can improve outcomes for these disorders. In line with fulfilling our mission and vision, collective efforts of our team include:
  • Development of new cell therapeutic products and protocols for the treatment and prevention of malignant and non-malignant diseases
  • Ongoing direct translation from the bench to the bedside
  • Conduct of phase I and II clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these cellular therapies
  • Immune reconstitution analysis of patients with immune-related disorders – particularly  participants of our clinical trials – in order to determine avenues for improvement of current therapies
  • Training of the next generation of scientists from both the medical and scientific fields on the science of cell-based therapies
  • Advocacy and consulting for the responsible use of cell-based therapies

CETI Laboratories

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 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.