SCCA Selected as One of the Nation’s First Cancer Centers to Offer Both FDA-Approved Cellular Immunotherapies

SEATTLE — June 21, 2018 —  On May 1, 2018, the FDA approved Kymriah for patients living with DLBCL. About 75,000 people will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) this year, with DLBCL the most common type of NHL. This CAR T-cell therapy was first approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age who have ALL.

As a member of a network of certified treatment centers, and the only certified treatment center in Washington State, SCCA will be able to help patients living with DLBCL receive this promising new treatment. Kymriah is one of only two CAR T-cell therapies approved for commercial use by the FDA (Yescarta, a CAR T-cell therapy designed to treat patients living with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, received approval in late 2017, and SCCA is the only cancer treatment center in Washington State certified to offer this treatment as well).

Kymriah harnesses the power of a patient’s own immune system to target and attack cancer cells and is made from a patient’s own white blood cells. This process, known as “leukapheresis” involves freezing blood cells taken from a patient’s blood. These blood cells are then sent to an off-site facility to be made into Kymriah (a process that can take three to four weeks, although that time may vary). Then, when the patient’s body is ready to receive the treatment, their health care provider will administer Kymriah, which usually takes less than one hour.

“We are honored to be part of the network of treatment centers offering this promising new treatment,” said Dr. Nancy Davidson, executive director and president of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “SCCA has been involved in developing and advancing immunotherapies to treat many forms of cancer and Kymriah offers promise for a population of patients who have faced limited options in the past.” According to the American Cancer Society, DLBCL is the most common type of NHL and affects one out of every three lymphoma patients. It is an aggressive lymphoma that typically responds well to treatment, with an 86 percent five-year survival rate. However, that survival rate declines to 53 percent at ten years.

“The FDA’s first approval of a CAR T-cell therapy was for Kymriah, specifically for use in pediatric patients and young adults with a different type of blood cancer.”  Said Dr. David Maloney, medical director of the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and medical director of cellular immunotherapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, SCCA’s research partner. “While this had significant implications for these patients, it impacted a relatively small patient population. The agency’s approval of Kymriah for DLBCL expands treatment options for an entirely new patient population.”

SCCA’s leadership in immunotherapy has helped to create new treatments for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and numerous other cancers. Patients at SCCA have had access to a broad range of investigational treatments in clinical trials at SCCA, and these trials have led to treatments that have since become more broadly available.

SCCA is among the top ranked cancer treatment hospitals in the country (in the top five, according to U.S. News and World Report’s most recent ranking), with a history steeped in scientific research protocols and above-average outcomes for cancer patients.

“Access at SCCA to leading-edge treatments like Kymriah demonstrates a big step forward in our ability to provide the best treatment possible to our patients,” said Dr. Maloney. “We’re proud to be able to offer this promising new cancer treatment to our patients today.”

For more information on Kymriah, visit the Kymriah website or contact Jennifer Rea at (206) 438-3502 or

Media Contact:
Fred Hutch Media Team