Women in lab.

Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL)

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center's Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL):

  • Makes cellular therapy products.
  • Assesses the immune function of people who have had cellular and biologic therapy treatments.
  • Banks blood and tissues for people taking part in clinical trials.

The IMCPL also plays a vital role in immunotherapy clinical trials developed by UPMC Hillman doctors and scientists.

About Our Lab Sites

The IMCPL is western Pa.'s largest, with:

  • More than 15,000 square feet of lab space.
  • Two locations at UPMC Hillman in Shadyside and in the Riviera Building at the Pittsburgh Technology Center, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh.
  • 12 clean lab rooms expressly designed to keep out contaminants.
    • 3 at UPMC Hillman in Shadyside.
    • 9 in the Riviera Building.

The IMCPL also received a Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CMGP) award from the National Institutes of Health.

What Are Cellular Therapies?

They are treatments that take a person's own immune cells and modify them so they can fight cancer.

Some types of cellular therapies include:

  • Chimeric antigen receptor (CART) T-cell therapy to treat certain blood cancers. CAR T-cell therapy alters a person's own T cells so they recognize distinct targets on cancer cells. Doctors then infuse the T cells back into the person to fight their cancer.
  • Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy to treat certain types of solid tumor cancers. TIL therapy removes a person's tumor, finds the fighter T cells within the tumor, and grows them in a lab. Doctors then infuse the lab-grown T cells back into the person to fight the cancer.
  • Dendritic cell (DC) investigational products to make a vaccine for HIV.
  • Regulatory DCs for organ transplant (infusion pre- and post-transplant).

Our Cellular Therapy Work at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

At the IMCPL, our experts:

  • Process and prepare T cells for shipment to pharmaceutical companies, which change them into CAR T cells.
  • Assess CAR T cells after the drug companies have modified them before infusing them back into the patient.
  • Alter TILs to activate them to help fight cancer.
  • Conduct research and clinical trials to design new and better cancer treatments.
  • Oversee a tissue bank for basic and clinical research.
  • Make sure UPMC's cellular therapy products meet industry quality and safety standards.
  • Perform investigational new drug (IND) research and development, which tests the safety and effectiveness of INDs under the supervision of the FDA.
  • Take part in clinical trials with other cancer centers from across the U..S. to research and produce new cellular therapy products.

Meet the IMCPL Team

The IMCPL includes doctors, scientists, and staff who provide the highest quality cellular therapies available.

  • Yen-Michael Hsu, MD, PhD
    Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology
    Director, Immunologic Monitoring & Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL)
    Medical Director, UPMC Adult HSC Laboratory

  • Ailema Paguntalan, Manager of QA/ Regulatory Affairs
    Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL)
    Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory
    Adult Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory

  • Nicole Leininger, Project Analyst
    cGMP Facilities and Supply Chain Management

  • Veronica Sutherland, Laboratory Supervisor

  • Jennifer Muzzio, Laboratory Supervisor

  • Misty DeRiggi, Lead Specialty Lab Tech

  • Shaheen (Sean) Khadem, Lead Specialty Lab Tech

  • Sylvia Thomas-Shrader, Lead Specialty Lab Tech

Contact the IMCPL

To learn more about the IMCPL and what we can do, email imcplleadership@upmc.edu.