In the fall of 2018, the City of Hope Alpha Stem Cell Clinic (ASCC) transitioned from the outpatient Day Hospital to the COH Clinical Research Unit (CRU). This unit’s home is the Judy & Bernard Briskin Center for Clinical Research (BCCR), a newly renovated, modern facility that brings together clinical research services, treatments and the respective multidisciplinary teams, including pharmacy, phlebotomy, and specimen processing. The COH ASCC leadership and Research Operations, and the Day Hospital staff staff worked together on making this transition as smooth as possible for all studies, patients and the clinical and research staff involved. The BCCR includes 17 infusion areas, two nursing stations, and three exam and procedure rooms, an onsite pharmacy and lab services, a dedicated registration site, and direct connection to biospecimen coordination services. In its new home, the ASCC continues to benefit from nursing staff with competencies in: 1) drug clinical trials, including PK studies and antibody infusions; 2) management of very sick patients, and 3) efficient implementation of complex research protocols.
During the reporting period since 04/01/18, we approved the implementation of 16 new clinical trials.
Together with the COH Dept. of Professional Practice and Education and the other ASCCs in the CIRM Network, we organized the national conference entitled “The Critical Role of Nursing in Cellular Therapies” in August 2018. This conference was followed by a series of webinars presented by each of the ASCCs in the CIRM network, who featured clinical trials evaluating stem cells and lessons learnt. Participants who completed the symposium and five ASCC-led webinars received continuing nursing education credits and a certificate of training program completion. This program has been a success across the CIRM ASCC Network, and a second nursing education symposium will be organized in the spring of 2020.
Overall, the COH ASCC had a year of growth in clinical trial activity as well as educational initiatives.