About the CVPF

The Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) renders bench-to-bedside translational medicine a reality. Equipped with state of the art facilities, the CVPF manufactures cell and gene biotherapeutics and is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). Further, the CVPF functions as an NCI approved Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) Shared Resource. As an ACC Shared Resource and Path and BioResources core facility, the CVPF supports numerous investigational new drug (IND) protocols. Current protocols target a variety of disease indications (primarily HIV, adult and pediatric cancers, and stroke); many more trials are in development and, once approved, will further expand the scope of diseases targeted for cell and gene therapy. For more information on current trials, see our Clinical Trials page.


  • Recent Publication
    The CVPF is excited to announce an article recently published in Scientific American.

    Cancer Killers
    Avery D. Posey, Jr, Carl H. June and Bruce L. Levine
    Cancer Killers
    Photo Credit: James Yang

    In Brief

    Some advanced cancers can now be successfully treated by synthetic immune cells that are more powerful and longer-lasting than any found in the body.

    • Synthetic immune cells, known as chimeric antigen receptor T, or CAR T, cells have proved remarkably effective at treating leukemia and lymphoma.
    • CAR T cells boost and enhance the body's ability to fight malignant cells. But they can trigger unwanted side effects and, in some cases, death.
    • Researchers are now designing new CAR T cells they hope will treat other forms of cancer and cause fewer deleterious side effects.

  • Stand Up To Cancer 2016 Broadcast Event

  • Recent Publication
    The CVPF is excited to announce an article recently published in Nature Reviews Cancer.


    Engineered T cells: the promise and challenges of cancer immunotherapy

    Andrew D. Fesnak, Carl H. June & Bruce L. Levine


    The immune system evolved to distinguish non-self from self to protect the organism. As cancer is derived from our own cells, immune responses to dysregulated cell growth present a unique challenge. This is compounded by mechanisms of immune evasion and immunosuppression that develop in the tumour microenvironment. The modern genetic toolbox enables the adoptive transfer of engineered T cells to create enhanced anticancer immune functions where natural cancer-specific immune responses have failed. Genetically engineered T cells, so-called 'living drugs', represent a new paradigm in anticancer therapy. Recent clinical trials using T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or engineered T cell receptors (TCRs) have produced stunning results in patients with relapsed or refractory haematological malignancies. In this Review we describe some of the most recent and promising advances in engineered T cell therapy with a particular emphasis on what the next generation of T cell therapy is likely to entail.

  • Vice President Joe Biden’s tweet after his visit to Penn Medicine on January 15, 2016:
    "I'm more optimistic than I've ever been in my life." -- VP Biden at @PennMedicine #CancerMoonshot
  • Recent Publication
    The CVPF is excited to announce an article recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine.


    Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells against CD19 for Multiple Myeloma

    Alfred L. Garfall, M.D., Marcela V. Maus, M.D., Ph.D., Wei-Ting Hwang, Ph.D., Simon F. Lacey, Ph.D., Yolanda D. Mahnke, Ph.D., J. Joseph Melenhorst, Ph.D., Zhaohui Zheng, M.S., Dan T. Vogl, M.D., Adam D. Cohen, M.D., Brendan M. Weiss, M.D., Karen Dengel, R.N., B.S.N., Naseem D.S. Kerr, M.P.H., Adam Bagg, M.D., Bruce L. Levine, Ph.D., Carl H. June, M.D., and Edward A. Stadtmauer, M.D.


    A patient with refractory multiple myeloma received an infusion of CTL019 cells, a cellular therapy consisting of autologous T cells transduced with an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor, after myeloablative chemotherapy (melphalan, 140 mg per square meter of body-surface area) and autologous stem-cell transplantation. Four years earlier, autologous transplantation with a higher melphalan dose (200 mg per square meter) had induced only a partial, transient response. Autologous transplantation followed by treatment with CTL019 cells led to a complete response with no evidence of progression and no measurable serum or urine monoclonal protein at the most recent evaluation, 12 months after treatment. This response was achieved despite the absence of CD19 expression in 99.95% of the patient’s neoplastic plasma cells. (Funded by Novartis and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02135406.)

Key CVPF Personnel

Don Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., CVPF Director
Andrew Fesnak, M.D., Cell Manufacturing Development Director
Megan Suhoski Davis, Ph.D., Scientific Affairs Director
Suzette Arostegui, M.S., Quality Assurance Director
Theresa Anne Colligon, Operations Director
Kurt Buchholz, Facilities Director
Bruce Levine, Ph.D., Founding Director and CCI Deputy
Director of Technology Innovation and Assessment

Penn ACC
Penn Path BioResource
Penn CCI
ISCT member