PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – After five rounds of chemotherapy in a seven-month period of 2017, leukemia patient Betty Zervoudakis required an allogenic stem cell transplant to survive. The situation was life-threatening, but the Lighthouse Point resident had two important factors in her favor: Her brother, Alex, was a perfect donor match and the Moffitt Malignant Hematology and Cellular Therapy program (MHCT) had recently been established in Pembroke Pines.
The program, a clinical partnership between Moffitt Cancer Center and Memorial Healthcare System that’s based at Memorial Hospital West, enables blood cancer patients like Zervoudakis to receive the highest-quality care close to home. That’s critically important for a disease and treatment protocol that requires hospitalization, frequent doctor visits, testing, and long recovery periods.
Moffitt performs both allogenic (stem cells harvested from a donor) and autologous (using a person’s own chemo-treated cells) transplants and its methods have now been recognized for exceeding established standards in patient care and laboratory practices.
The facility has been accredited by The Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for compliance with the FACT-JACIE International Standards for Hematopoietic Cellular Therapy. To qualify, Moffitt had to meet or exceed cellular therapy standards, submit to a rigorous approval process, and pass an on-site inspection. The accreditation, effective for three years April 25th, specifically applies to adult allogeneic and autologous hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation and peripheral blood cellular therapy product collection.
Founded in 1996, FACT establishes standards for high quality medical and laboratory practice in cellular therapies. A non-profit corporation co-founded by the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT), it focuses on voluntary inspection and accreditation in the field of cellular therapy.
“We saw this as an opportunity to use Moffitt’s experience from both malignant hematology and transplant to mold it all together,” said Hugo Fernandez, M.D., medical director of the malignant hematology and cellular therapy program. “Cellular Therapy, including bone marrow transplants and more, is looking to the future.”
As of May 1, 2018, the 100-day survival rate for patients transplanted at Moffitt MHCT at Memorial Hospital West was 100%.
For Zervoudakis, having that level of expertise in Broward County meant not having to incur travel expenses or leave behind family members and a support system to receive her allogeneic bone marrow transplant..
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About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 5,700 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.1 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About Memorial Healthcare System
Memorial Healthcare System (www.mhs.net) is one of the largest public healthcare systems in the country and a national leader in quality care and patient satisfaction, highly regarded for its exceptional patient and family-centered care. Its facilities include Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar, Memorial Hospital Pembroke, and Memorial Manor nursing home.
For more information, visit mhs.net.
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