A multicenter evaluation of heterogeneity in cellular therapy processing laboratory procedure times to assess workload capacity

Suzanne R. Thibodeaux, David H. McKenna, Zbigniew M. Szczepiorkowski, Magali J. Fontaine, Linda Kelley, Jo Anna Reems, Pampee P. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Growth in size and complexity of clinical hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplant programs necessitates parallel increases in cellular therapy laboratory (CTL) workload. Typically individually developed, HPC product processing is labor and time intensive. Variation in procedure type and numbers across CTLs complicates direct comparisons, and benchmark data are not readily available. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Studies were undertaken at seven CTLs. Transplant volume and staff numbers were determined. Staff recorded time performing tasks broken down into steps: paperwork, product acceptance, transport/infusion, processing, and cryopreservation. Times were added to obtain total times for 15 common CTL procedures. RESULTS: Annual transplant volume ranged from 53.4 to 463.2, with products processed by a range of 2 to 10 dedicated CTL staff. Paperwork time constituted 23.7% to 62.3% total time; product processing time accounted for 1.8 (for National Marrow Donor Program product receipt) to 62.6% (for red blood cell reduction of allogeneic HPC products from bone marrow) of total processing time. Mean time for 15 procedures ranged from 1.27 to 8.28 hours (standard deviation range, 0.35-2.71 hr). Mean time for products from bone marrow versus peripheral blood was 6.6 ± 2.0 versus 5.5 ± 1.1 hours (p = 0.02). Cryopreservation (6.5 ± 1.6 vs. 4.4 ± 0.85 hr; p < 0.01) and manipulation (6.4 ± 1.5 vs. 4.4 ± 0.85 hr; p < 0.01) added time. CONCLUSION: CTL procedures are time intensive, with wide intra- and inter-CTL variation. Paperwork accounted for substantial portion of total time across procedures. Bone marrow source, cryopreservation, and manipulation contributed to longer times. These findings provide concrete data on which to build regarding CTL workload capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1820
Number of pages10
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


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