Overview

UAB is a national leader in Therapeutic Apheresis, having been in operation for almost 40 years. Our center was among the first to offer Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) to treat patients with Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) about 30 years ago. Nowadays, we also treat patients with heart and lung transplant rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) post-allogeneic hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplantation. Our annual volume nears 2500 procedures, including therapeutic plasma exchanges (TPE), ECPs and red cell exchanges for patients with acute or chronic complications of sickle cell disease. UAB has a comprehensive Adult Sickle Cell Program that works very closely with our service. Our Therapeutic Apheresis services are available at UAB main hospital for outpatients (routine procedures in the Apheresis Clinic in Jefferson Towers of UAB Hospital) and inpatients (routine and emergent procedures), including nights, weekends and holidays. Our service is staffed by highly trained and specialized personnel consisting of 4 Board-certified apheresis physicians, 1 nurse manager and 8 apheresis nurses.

The Apheresis Collection Facility (ACF) is located in the 15th floor of Jefferson Towers and operates Monday to Friday collecting HPC for transplants, as well as peripheral mononuclear cells for cellular therapies such as CAR-T and other experimental protocols. Two apheresis nurses are dedicated to the ACF and take excellent care of our patients and HPC donors.

Our Faculty

Jose Lima, MD
Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine
Medical Director, Therapeutic Apheresis

Marisa Marques, MD
Professor, Division Director, Laboratory Medicine
Medical Director, Apheresis Collection Facility

Rance C. Siniard, MD
Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine

Nirupama Singh, MD
Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine

Elizabeth Staley, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine


Residency/Fellowship Training

The residents rotating for 4 months in Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine alternate covering the Apheresis Service one week at a time. They see and evaluate patients/donors, place orders, communicate with their clinical team, write procedure notes, and care for the patient/donor during any unexpected event. Along with a dedicated Attending, the resident, the fellow, and any rotating medical student or a trainee from another specialty, round on all patients at least once a day, and meet to discuss plans in the morning and the afternoon on weekdays. This rotation is also available as an elective, which may include spending time in the Cell Therapy laboratory under Dr. Di Stasi. Our residents and fellow learn to act as clinical consultants with a variety of other specialties, sharing our knowledge and skills during the care of patients with very different diseases.

Procedures

Therapeutic plasma exchange or TPE is used to remove circulating autoimmune antibodies or immune complexes in several neurologic, renal and hematological conditions and to treat organ transplant rejections. We perform therapeutic cytapheresis procedures to remove blood cells from patients with hematological, oncological, or infectious disorders eliminating part of the pathologic process and leading to clinical improvement.

For patients with sickle cell disease (SCD), automated red cell exchange rapidly removes red blood cells (RBC) containing Hemoglobin S (HbS), while simultaneously replacing them with donor RBCs that lack HbS. This procedure can be lifesaving in acute exacerbations of SCD (i.e. acute stroke) and can improved the quality of life of patients with chronic complications of SCD. While most patients undergo red cell exchanges in our clinic once a month, we may treat them emergently as inpatients as clinically indicated.

Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) is a cell-based immunomodulatory therapy that is FDA-approved for CTCL but very effective in the long-term treatment of chronic GVHD and cellular cardiac and pulmonary transplant rejection. Most patients undergoing ECP are outpatients and scheduled for treatments weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc.

Contact Us

Therapeutic Apheresis Service
Jefferson Towers
Room J678
Phone: 205-975-4026 or 205-975-3687

Apheresis Collection Facility
Jefferson Towers
Room J1506
Phone: 205-975-6276 or 205-975-6278