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Advancing CAR T-cell therapy

UCI Health hematologic oncologist offers insights and analysis of the transformative treatments

April 12, 2024
Dr. Stefan Ciurea stands in front of a window that overlooks the grounds of UCI Medical Center.

Dr. Stefan O. Ciurea, director of the UCI Health Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program.

Orange, Calif. — CAR T-cell therapy is rapidly transforming treatment methods for some of the most intractable blood malignancies, raising hopes for better disease management and even progression-free survival, said UCI Health hematologic oncologist Stefan O. Ciurea, MD, director of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program.

The fast-growing program at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center has performed nearly 200 procedures since it opened in May 2020 and an increasing number of CAR T-cell treatments. It is also one of a handful of U.S. programs that offers hematopoietic stem cell transplants to patients with a range of nonmalignant disorders, including multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

At a recent medical conference, the UCI School of Medicine professor highlighted advances being made in clinical trials and other studies of CAR T-cell therapies for difficult­-to-treat cancers, such as relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma and lymphomas. He also discussed strategies for managing side effects and optimizing patient outcomes.

To fully realize the potential of this revolutionary therapy, which uses the body's enhanced immune cells to combat blood and other cancers, Ciurea emphasized the importance of collaborative research, careful patient selection and close monitoring to advance the boundaries of CAR T-cell treatment.

View the presentation video ›

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UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system based in Orange County. UCI Health is comprised of its main campus, UCI Medical Center, a 459-bed, acute care hospital in in Orange, Calif., four hospitals and affiliated physicians of the UCI Health Community Network in Orange and Los Angeles counties and ambulatory care centers across the region. Listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, UCI Medical Center provides tertiary and quaternary care. It also 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 centergold level 1 geriatric emergency department 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 FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

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UCI Health — Irvine, a new medical complex under construction at the north end of the UC Irvine campus, will bring unparalleled expertise and the finest evidence-based care that only an academic health system can offer to the communities of coastal and south Orange County. As part of UCI Health — which includes the flagship UCI Medical Center in Orange, Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and multiple outpatient care locations — the new 1.2 million-square-foot campus will offer key clinical programs in oncology, digestive health, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and spine surgery.

The nation’s first all-electric, carbon-neutral medical center, UCI Health — Irvine will be home to:

  • The Joe C. Wen & Family UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, a five-story, 168,000-square-foot medical facility offering the full range of multidisciplinary specialty care for children and adults under a single roof, urgent care services, the Center for Children’s Health and the UCI Health Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders — Opening spring 2024
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  • A seven-story, 350,000-square-foot, acute care hospital with 144 inpatient beds, 10 operating suites and a 24-hour emergency department with 20 treatment rooms — Opening 2025