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The arrival of CAR-T cancer treatments and the expected coming age of cell therapies are opening new frontiers for what medicines look like: Cells are taken from patients, then tweaked or supercharged in a lab, and finally given back to patients.

But the emergence of those treatments has put a pinch on the places that collect those cells from patients. The crunch is only expected to grow as more CAR-T candidates and other cell therapies enter clinical trials and win approval.


These facilities, called apheresis centers, have already seen a spike in the number of patients coming through their doors with the first two CAR-T products on the market, in some cases forcing cancer patients to have to wait several days for a slot. Adding to the burden, center directors say, is that each company with a product or experimental therapy insists on performing its own audit to ensure its collection protocols are followed.

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