CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In October, Novant Health opened a seven-story building dedicated to cardiac and cancer treatments. One unit in the facility was designed with the future of cancer treatment in mind.
Cellular Therapy is a cancer treatment often used for people fighting blood cancers. It can include stem cell transplants or Car T Cell Therapy; a less aggressive treatment than chemotherapy or radiation.
Medical Director of Malignant Hematology Transplantation and Cellular Therapy for Novant Health, Dr. Tayo Fasan, has been behind the implementation of this floor. It has finally come to fruition with 13 cellular therapy rooms and 16 exam rooms.
“To treat patients with blood cancers and solid tumors in the outpatient setting with cellular therapy,” Dr. Fasan explained.
Novant Health has treated patients with cellular therapy before, but it has always been done in the hospital setting. This floor allows patients to receive these procedures in an outpatient setting.
“Otherwise they would have been hospitalized, not able to go home and all. They’re having limited time with their families, especially in these turbulent times when we have a pandemic where we have restrictions on visitors and family members who are able to come and see the patients,” Dr. Fasan said.
“The whole idea is to keep things more comfortable and approachable for patients, so they don’t have to spend long stints in the hospital. They can go home on the same day, come back and be monitored, and make it safe and comfortable,” Director of Lymphoma and CLL Programs Dr. Alan Skarbnik said.
The unit is adjacent to the Hematology clinic and in-house lab. Making patients easily assessible to their physicians. The rooms feature a view of the Charlotte skyline and HEPA air filtration to ward off bacteria and mold.
While the unit is mostly being used by patients fighting blood cancers right now, Novant Health anticipates it will be used to treat many more cancers in the future.
“Patients with hematologic malignancies or blood cancers are currently what this space is designed for. That’s where these procedures are currently approved, but there are many studies going on with cellular therapy for what we call solid tumors, which are your lung cancers, Melanoma, renal cancer, so on and so forth,” Dr. Skarbnik said.
Novant Health is enrolling patients in a clinical trial to treat low grade lymphomas with Car T Cell Therapy. The therapy would be available in the outpatient setting on this unit.