Information for International Patients
Brief overview: Hematology Department of “G. Papanicolaou” Hospital
The Hematology Department was founded in 1985 as a National Health System Unit and has since been operating in the G. Papanicolaou University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece. In 1997, Haemopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT) Unit as well as the Progenitor Cell Processing Unit, already active since 1985, was formally recognized in the Hospital Managing Scheme (“Organization”).
In February 2000, the HCT Unit, the Hematology Department and the Laboratories were relocated to new facilities in the “Storgi” Hematology Center called “Storgi”, (Greek for affection). The construction of these facilities was funded by the “Storgi” Club, a non-government charity organization, The “Storgi” Building covers a total surface area of 3800m2 and houses:
a) Hematology Ward (30 beds) for management of patients with all types of hematological disorders, with an emphasis of hematological malignancy
b) Inpatient Hemopoietic Cell Transplantation Unit (8 hepa-filtered isolated beds) and a department of 8 beds for patients with post-transplant complications, operating at the highest international standards
c) Two outpatient clinics, one for transplanted patients (6 beds) and a second one for hematology patients (14 beds)
d) Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Apheresis Unit (2 beds)
e) Laboratories specified in :
- General Hematology (including cytomorphology, immunochemistry, flow cytometry)
- Molecular biology
- Cell cultures
- Hematopoietic progenitor processing
- Cord blood banking unit in order to preserve committed cord blood units for siblings suffering from leukemia
f) Extra-corporeal photochemotherapy unit for the treatment of CTLCs and cGVHD
g) Processing Facilities are located in the Gene and Cell Therapy Centre.
Since 2004, the Gene and Cell Therapy Centre (GCTC) operates under the Hematology-BMT Unit. It covers a total area of 245m2 consisting of i) the core facility – constructed under the cGMP standards- for cell processing and ex vivo manipulation and ii) adjacent supporting labs.
The Core GMP Facility encompasses approximately 120 m2 and serves as the Cell Processing Facility for the HCT Unit. It consists of 3 clean environment rooms (class 10.000 air handling). Doors are equipped with an interlock system to maintain appropriate air pressure differentials and air quality, as well as to assure the unidirectional personnel traffic flow through the facility. All operations requiring open manipulations of patients’ cells are carried out in class 100 air quality safety cabinets inside the clean environment rooms. Access to the Core Lab is restricted to authorized and trained personnel using a permission code number. Supporting labs include: molecular biology labs, tissue culture rooms, one radioactivity room and one common equipment room.
Our Hematology Department addresses the wide spectrum of hematology disorders, focusing on malignant hematology. Additionally, we operate 3 hematology and 3 transplantation outpatient clinics, daily. Our expertise is hematopoietic cell transplantation and cellular therapies. Our Unit is the oldest and largest in Greece. Our Unit was the first to be certified with the JACIE accreditation since 2013.
Selected international accomplishments
- First application in Greece of high dose chemotherapy and of both autologous (1985) and allogeneic transplantation (1990).
- First use in Greece of G-CSF mobilized graft as an alternative graft source to bone marrow (1995).
- In 1995, we performed the first autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation in progressive multiple sclerosis. We transplanted 36 patients in total. The majority of international reference centres still follows our protocol.
- We have evaluated for the first time globally the safety and efficacy of hematopoietic stem cell collection in thalassemia patients, under the auspices of the Washington University of Seattle and the USA National Institutes of Health.
- We have participated in the first clinical study of gene therapy in thalassemia patients.
- We have received 4 research grants within 5 years from the European Hematology Association.
Briefly, in 2022, we:
- Performed 22.557 visits in our outpatient clinics.
- Performed 125 hematopoietic cell transplantation, 64 allogeneic και 45 autologous, and 16 CAR-T cell therapies.
- Participated in numerous studies, clinical and pre-clinical, in collaboration with multiple national and international centres.
- Published 36 studies in international journals. Our research focuses on cellular and gene therapy, hematopoietic cell transplantation and its complications, lymphoproliferative disorders and other hematological malignancies.
- Presented 73 abstracts in national and international conferences and received 4 awards.
- Received grants, fellowships or awards for 8 of our staff.