UCI opens specialized infusion center for cell and gene therapy studies

The center will support clinical trials at the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Center Research Center

November 13, 2023
The Alpha Clinic infusion center at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center in Irvine.

The new outpatient Alpha Clinic infusion center will support the
growing number of stem cell and regenerative medicine clinical
trials underway at UCI and UCI Health.

Irvine, Calif. — The UCI Alpha Clinic has launched a new outpatient infusion center dedicated to supporting clinical trials conducted by the researchers and clinicians of the UCI Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center (SCRC).

Located in Gross Hall on the university campus in Irvine, the infusion center will allow the Alpha Clinic team to administer cell and gene therapies in support of an expanding number of clinical trials, including many first-in-human studies of the latest regenerative medicine therapies.

The infusion center is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, research coordinators, schedulers and laboratory staff members. It also is equipped with the latest technical infrastructure to support all outpatient procedures for phase 1, 2 and 3 trials at the Alpha Clinic, which is the clinical trials arm of the SCRC.

“Bringing together all our clinical trial cell and gene therapy services and staff in one location is a tremendous benefit to our patients,” said Daniela A. Bota, MD, PhD, director of the Alpha Clinic and the UCI School of Medicine’s vice dean for clinical research.

Support for clinical trials

The infusion center’s wide range of clinical and supportive care services for patients undergoing clinical trials include:

  • Four infusion bays designed for patient comfort with high-speed Wi-Fi and individual charging stations
  • A nursing station
  • A private exam room
  • State-of-the-art monitoring equipment
  • Accessible patient parking adjacent to Gross Hall

The infusion center soon will be complemented by a “good manufacturing practices” center, one of the few such facilities in the state capable of producing U.S. Food and Drug Administration-compliant cell and gene therapies for use in clinical trials. The manufacturing lab will be located in the adjacent Hewitt Hall on the Irvine campus.

Together, these facilities promise to accelerate regenerative medicine clinical trial offerings, including those devised by UCI faculty as well as by companies developing new treatments, said SCRC Director Aileen Anderson, PhD.

SCRC recently was awarded a two-year, $2 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and membership in its Cell and Gene Manufacturing Network. Anderson calls this award and the network membership a “game-changer” for UCI and the region.

“Our unique focus on the manufacture of cell and gene therapies for clinical trials in neurological diseases and cancer will increase access for our patients and empower us to lead the way in bringing novel regenerative treatments into clinical practice,” Anderson said, adding, ”It also will foster greater collaboration between our basic stem-cell scientists and our physician-researchers.”

The UCI Alpha Clinic and the UCI Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center are part of a network of leading medical centers funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The Alpha Clinic specializes in delivering leading-edge stem cell clinical trials and gene therapy to patients, and it seeks to accelerate the development of new treatments through partnerships with patients, medical providers, and biotech and pharma companies. Visit stemcell.uci.edu to learn more about clinical stem cell trials and regenerative medicine research.

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.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.