City of Hope Cancer Center Atlanta Launches Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cell Therapy Program

A leader in cellular immunotherapy, City of Hope now offers transplantation, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy and other immunotherapies at Atlanta cancer center.

Kimberly Martin

ATLANTA — To bolster its treatment of blood cancers, City of Hope®, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States, today announced the launch of its Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT) and Cell Therapy Program at City of Hope Cancer Center Atlanta. A pioneer in BMT, City of Hope has one of the largest and most successful transplant programs of its kind in the United States with nearly 19,000 successful transplants since the program’s inception in 1976. By bringing this program to the Atlanta cancer center, City of Hope’s blood cancer expertise is now available in all City of Hope cancer centers nationwide, bridging existing gaps by expanding access to optimal cancer care for patients navigating leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related hematologic diseases.

ATL BMT Launch
L to R: Dr. Sabarish Ram Ayyappan, medical director, Hematologic Malignancies; Dr. Leslie Popplewell, medical director, Blood and Marrow Transplant; Jessica Revere, supervisor, Laboratory

The Atlanta BMT and Cell Therapy Program is established under the guidance of Leslie Popplewell, M.D., blood and marrow transplant medical director, who now also serves as leader of the program. She joined the Atlanta cancer center in 2023 and previously served for over 20 years at City of Hope’s campus in Duarte, California, as hematologist, chief of the Division of Lymphoma, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and associate medical director of the Judy & Bernard Briskin Center for Clinical Research.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 187,740‬ people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2024. “In Georgia, blood cancers account for roughly 9% of estimated new cancer cases this year,” Popplewell said. “Establishing the transplant program is a critical milestone for City of Hope Atlanta and can help many patients dealing with blood cancers that have recurred or are difficult to treat receive the procedure, which can put them into remission.”

Blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants are lifesaving, intensive procedures. An autologous transplant uses a patient's own healthy stem cells, which are removed before other cancer treatments occur and then infused back in the patient to replace damaged bone marrow and make healthy blood cells. An allogeneic transplant uses a related or unrelated donor's healthy bone marrow or blood stem cells to replace the patient's own bone marrow or stem cells that have been destroyed by radiation or chemotherapy.

According to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, City of Hope delivers exceptional survivor rates and has patient outcomes that rank at the highest level among cancer centers nationwide.

The Atlanta cancer center’s program is part of its Blood Cancer Center, rated as high performing for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma treatment by U.S. News and World Report in the 2023-2024 year. Offering leading-edge cellular immunotherapy with advanced chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T cell) therapy and bispecific T cell engagers (BiTE) therapy, this center provides innovative technologies that use a patient's own cells and immune system to treat cancer. City of Hope is a leader in cellular immunotherapy and is one of the few institutions in the United States to develop its own CAR T cell therapies and clinical trials, and collaborate with global biopharmaceutical companies and other academic researchers on these treatments.

City of Hope Atlanta is providing BiTE therapy and will conduct its first autologous stem cell transplant procedure this spring. The center plans to apply for accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy by the end of 2024.

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About City of Hope
City of Hope's mission is to make hope a reality for all touched by cancer and diabetes. Founded in 1913, City of Hope has grown into one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope research has been the basis for numerous breakthrough cancer medicines, as well as human synthetic insulin and monoclonal antibodies. With an independent, National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center at its core, City of Hope brings a uniquely integrated model to patients spanning cancer care, research and development, academics and training, and innovation initiatives. City of Hope’s growing national system includes its Los Angeles campus, a network of clinical care locations across Southern California, a new cancer center in Orange County, California, and cancer treatment centers and outpatient facilities in the Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix areas. City of Hope’s affiliated group of organizations includes Translational Genomics Research Institute and AccessHopeTM. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.