UCI Health awarded FACT accreditation for bone marrow transplantation and CAR T-cell therapy

Orange County’s only adult hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy program provides life-saving treatment for blood-based cancers

April 08, 2022
Dr. Stefan Ciurea, Director, UCI Health Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program
Dr. Stefan Ciurea, Director, UCI Health Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program

Orange, Calif. — The UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and its adult bone marrow and hematopoietic stem cell transplant program have received accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for meeting the national standard of excellence in cellular therapy programs.

Hematopoietic stem cell and bone marrow transplantation is an advanced procedure that can prolong the survival of and cure many patients with high-risk blood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Until recently, Orange County residents had to travel far from home to receive this therapy. Launched in 2020, the UCI Health Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program allows local residents to receive this treatment close to home, and also serves patients from across Southern California. In addition, the program offers leading-edge cellular immunotherapy options and access to novel clinical trials.

FACT-accredited organizations voluntarily seek and maintain accreditation of their program through a rigorous process, demonstrating the shared belief that adhering to the highest standards in patient care are paramount.

“FACT accreditation is extremely important for any transplant program, both to ensure quality of care and to meet requirements of third party payers,” said Dr. Stefan O. Ciurea, UCI Health hematologic-oncologist and director of the cancer center's stem cell transplantation and cell therapy program. “We started this program less than two years ago and our team has worked extremely hard to obtain full accreditation of all components of an established program, including autologous and allogeneic transplantation, as well as CAR T-cell therapy.”

FACT accreditation is based upon compliance with the most comprehensive standards in the field, verified by rigorous peer-reviewed inspections, qualified by training and experience to perform cellular therapy in their daily practice. To receive and maintain accreditation, cellular therapy programs must meet the follow standards:

  • Have the experience required to understand and provide care for the unique needs of hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients.
  • Medical directors and program personnel meet FACT educational and experience requirements.
  • Clinical programs must transplant a minimum number of patients annually.
  • Collection facilities must perform a requisite number of cell collection procedures annually.
  • Cell transplantation is performed in accordance with policies for the safe administration of cellular products as required for optimum patient care.
  • Use processes guided by quality management systems.

“Having our transplant and cell therapy program join the prestigious community of FACT-accredited programs demonstrates to our patients, referring physicians and third-party payers our commitment to the highest quality patient care and UCI Health’s commitment to the highest standards in cellular therapy services,” said Richard Van Etten, MD, PhD, a UCI Health hematologic-oncologist and director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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About FACT

Founded in 1996, FACT establishes standards for high quality patient care and laboratory practice in cellular therapies and regenerative medicine. FACT is a non-profit corporation co-founded by the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) and the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) for the voluntary inspection and accreditation in the field of cellular therapy. FACT promotes improvement and progress by establishing minimum standards, providing education, and inspecting and accrediting programs worldwide. For more information, visit www.factwebsite.org.

UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centerhigh-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.