Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana

Cellular Therapy Programme Back

In 1993, the first autologous stem cell transplantation in Ticino was performed in Bellinzona. Since then, more than 400 patients have received transplants, most of them suffering from lymphoma or multiple myeloma. From August 2020, the autologous transplantation unit will become part of a broader and more innovative project, which includes cellular therapies under a single umbrella. 

The IOSI Cell Therapy Programme, includes autologous stem cell transplantation and the allogene-ic transplantation clinic (family donor or registry), which takes care of patients in the early follow-up phase  after receiving an allogeneic transplant in Basel. In the course of 2021, CAR-T cell therapy and extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) will be implemented.
The results of the therapies are analysed annually by Swiss Blood Stem Cells (SBST) and Europe-an Bone Marrow Transplant (EBMT), bodies with which we are associated. The Cell Therapy Pro-gramme is accredited according to JACIE quality standards and by Swissmedic.
Areas of the IOSI Cell Therapy Programme:
  • The Cell Therapy Programme consists of the following areas:
  • Autologous Transplantation Unit
  • Allogeneic Transplantation Unit (patients followed up)
  • CAR-T Unit
  • Aferetic Harvesting Unit
  • Cellular Processing Unit
These areas have the specialised personnel and infrastructure to guarantee all phases of autolo-gous transplantation and cell therapy with CAR T and the extracorporeal photoapheresis procedure, from collection and storage to reinfusion of the stem cells into the blood and CAR T cells.
Autologous transplantation
In this technique, the blood-producing stem cells (haematopoietic cells) are taken from the patient and frozen in order to avoid their exposure to a very powerful chemotherapy, which is then adminis-tered. After the high-dose chemotherapy treatment, the stem cells are thawed and re-infused to the patient, allowing him or her to tolerate some of the toxicities associated with chemotherapy that he or she would not otherwise have received. This therapeutic pathway also makes it possible to cure patients resistant to standard chemotherapy. Autologous transplantation is a therapy used to treat certain haemato-oncological diseases, such as lymphomas, multiple myeloma, certain types of sol-id tumours (e.g. testicular) and leukaemia.
CAR T cell therapy
The term "CAR-T" (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) cells refers to a type of treatment in which T lym-phocytes taken from a patient are re-injected into the patient's body after being genetically modified in the laboratory to enhance their action against the tumour. The technique for producing CAR-T cells is complex and is carried out in only a few specialised laboratories in the world. It is a custom-ised treatment, developed individually for each patient. The administration of CAR-T therapy is pre-ceded by chemotherapy. CAR-T cell therapy is one of the most advanced forms of cancer immu-notherapy.
Allogeneic transplant clinic
The Allogeneic Transplant Clinic at IOSI is a "satellite centre" of the University Hospital of Basel (USB) for allogeneic transplantation. The allogeneic transplantation procedures are performed in Basel and patients are taken care of after discharge, allowing an early return to Ticino. Allogeneic transplantation is a therapy used to treat certain haematological diseases, such as leukaemia and multiple myeloma.
Please refer to the organisation chart for details.
Autologous Transplantation
  • Dr. med. Luciano Wannesson: Director of the Cellular Therapy Programme
  • Prof. Dr. med. Georg Stüssi: Deputy Clinical Medical Director
  • Dr. med. Erika Lerch: Physician Clinical Coordinator
  • Dr. med. Esteban Ciliberti: Head of Clinic
  • Ms Laura Orlando Nurse Coordinator 
Nurses qualified in Haematopoietic Stem Cell Reinfusion:
  • Mr Mauro Baglioni
  • Mrs Giulia Bazzi
  • Mrs Lisa Canevascini
  • Mrs Veronica Lussana
  • Mr Michele Maag
  • Mr J. Carlos Rodrigues Pereira
Allogeneic Transplantation
  • Prof. Dr. med. Georg Stüssi: Clinical Medical Director Allogeneic Transplantation Unit
  • PD. Dr. med. Bernard Gerber
  • Dr. med. Alessandra Stasia
  • Dr. med. Pamella Paul
  • Ms Miriam Ravelli: Nurse Case Manager
CAR T Cell Therapy
  • Prof. Dr. med. Georg Stüssi: Clinical Medical Director CAR-T Unit
  • Dr. med. Luciano Wannesson: Deputy Clinical Medical Director
  • Dr. med. Esteban Ciliberti
  • Dr. med. Alessandra Stasia
  • Mrs. Laura Orlando: Coordinating Nurse 
Staff of the Apheretic Collection Unit
  • Dr. med. Erika Lerch: Medical Director of the Apheretic Collection Unit
  • Prof. Dr. med. Georg Stüssi: Deputy Clinical Medical Director
Qualified nurses for leukapheresis 
  • Mr. Mauro Baglioni: Nurse Coordinator of the Apheresis Collection Unit
  • Mrs Giulia Bazzi
  • Ms Lisa Canevascini
Laboratory staff
  • Dr. Roberta Pittau Bordone: Cellular Processing Unit Director
  • Mr. Maurizio Petrilli: Biomedical Analysis Technician Manager
  • Ms Eugenia Schipani: Biomedical analysis technician
  • Mrs. Sheila Tomasini: Biomedical analysis technician
  • Head of nursing department
  • Mrs Nuria Prieto Casais: 1st floor IOSI ward
  • Ms Erica Capelli: Outpatient clinic Bellinzona
Administrative staff
  • Mr Mauro Baglioni: Data Management Cellular Therapy Programme and Quality Contact Personnel
  • Dr Roberta Pittau Bordone: Quality Manager, Cellular Therapy Unit  mSs Laura Orlando: Cellular Therapy Programme Quality Manager