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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014


Cell Transplantation Program at West Penn Hospital Earns Major Accreditation

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Pittsburgh, PA (May 8, 2009) -- The Cell Transplantation Program at The Western Pennsylvania Cancer Institute, West Penn Hospital, has been granted accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). 

FACT accreditation demonstrates commitment to quality in cellular therapy and blood and marrow transplantation through adherence to rigorous standards, as verified by periodic inspections and peer review. Accreditation for the West Penn Cell Transplantation Program is effective May 1 and granted for the maximum time of three years.

“The FACT accreditation speaks to the skill and dedication of everyone involved with the Cell Transplantation Program,” said John Lister, MD, Director, The Western Pennsylvania Cancer Institute. “This accreditation will make more patients aware that our facility strives to achieve the highest quality care for cellular therapy treatment programs.”

Since its inception in 1990 as West Penn Hospital’s Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, the Cell Transplantation Program has grown to be one of the region’s largest, performing more than 80 transplants annually. Entezam Sahovic, MD, is director of the Cell Transplantation Program.

West Penn Hospital’s Cell Transplantation Program has long been nationally recognized as a leader in the treatment of patients with leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, myeloma and related disorders, providing the most advanced treatment options and drug therapies. The full-service program guides patients through all phases of transplantation from marrow and blood collection to processing, transplantation and follow-up care.

“All of us at West Penn Hospital extend our congratulations to Dr. Lister and his staff on achieving FACT accreditation,” said Dawn M. Gideon, President and Chief Executive Officer, West Penn Hospital. “We are proud of their achievement, and happy to see recognition of their outstanding care for patients.”

The accreditation process involves documentation of compliance with standards set by FACT-JACIE (Joint Accreditation Committee – European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and International Society for Cellular Therapy) and a subsequent on-site inspection conducted by inspectors qualified by training and experience in cellular therapy.

FACT accreditation is voluntary but important for institutions to stay competitive in the field of cellular therapy. Many health insurance plans and managed care organizations rely on FACT accreditation for designating Centers of Excellence. FACT accreditation is also a factor in the ranking of “America’s Best Hospitals” published annually by U.S. News and World Report.

FACT standards are developed by panels of experts and are updated regularly to keep pace with the rapidly advancing field of cellular therapy. FACT is the only accrediting agency that addresses all quality aspects of cellular therapy treatments: clinical care, donor management, cell collection, cell processing, cell storage, cell transportation and administration.

In addition to its FACT accreditation, West Penn Hospital is recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation, an organization dedicated to treating disorders that inhibit healthy blood cell production.

West Penn Hospital was among the first hospitals in the nation to join the National Marrow Donor Program and is the only hospital in the region with a transplant program approved by the Cancer and Leukemia Group-B research cooperative.

Through participation in clinical trials, the transplant team has developed new techniques for harvesting, purifying, expanding and transplanting stem cells, from bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood to make transplants safer and more effective than ever before.

In 2000, West Penn Hospital physicians combined blood from multiple umbilical cords to perform the region’s first umbilical cord blood transplant in an adult leukemia patient. Umbilical cord blood, which is rich in immunologically immature stem cells, has been used for decades to treat children with blood disorders, but did not yield enough cells to transplant an adult.

The Cell Transplantation Program includes a major fellowship program devoted to training young hematologists-oncologists and involving the next generation of physicians in clinical research efforts.

West Penn Allegheny Health System
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