Stem Cell Tourism (23EL-890)

Please note: AABB reserves the right to make updates to this program.

Live Program Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2023 - On-Demand Available

Program Number: 23EL-890

  • Educational Track: Scientific
  • Topic: Biotherapies
  • Intended Audience: Directors, Immunohematology Reference Labs (IRL’s), Laboratory Staff, Managers/Supervisors, Medical Directors, Perfusionists, Physicians, Research Scientists, Residents/Fellows, Scientists, Students (MD, MT, SBB), Technologists
  • Teaching Level: Basic, Intermediate
  • Director: Indira Guleria, PhD Diplomate (ABHI), CABP(H), Director, Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (HLA), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    Moderator: Tom Spitzer, MD, Director Emeritus, Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

    • Indira Guleria, PhD Diplomate (ABHI), CABP(H), Director, Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (HLA), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    • Maria De Los Angeles Muniz, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Transfusion Medicine, Cellular Therapy & Donor Center Division, RWJ Barnabas Health | Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ
  • Program Description

    Unproven cellular therapies are being offered to patients for a variety of conditions and diseases for which other treatments have failed. The practitioners are not fully aware of the risks involved with such therapies. A need therefore exists to bring attention to the potential limitations and adverse effects of these therapies to inform and limit misinformation. In this program, the faculty will discuss some of these cautionary tales and key adverse events associated with unproven cellular therapies as they relate to various disease conditions. A workflow to facilitate an understanding of the regulatory processes involved in the approval of cellular therapies will also be provided to educate the practitioners. This will provide practitioners a foundation and tools to further navigate the field of unproven cellular therapy products.

    Learning Objectives

    After participating in this educational activity, participants should be able to:

    • Describe the concept of stem cell tourism/unproven cellular therapy and understand current trends and the role of social media in spread of unproven therapies across the globe.
    • Realize issues and risk factors involved in the usage of unproven stem cell therapies.
    • Recognize the regulatory, legislative, and ethical issues associated with unregulated stem cell therapies being used across different countries.


    Please note: if you registered for the live eCast you do not need to register for the on-demand eCast (access to the on-demand eCast was included with the live eCast registration).

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    Continuing Education Credit

    This activity is eligible for one (1) continuing education credit/contact hour for Physicians, Nurses (including California-based nursing professionals through CBRN), California Lab Personnel, Florida Lab Personnel and General Participation credit. AABB reserves the right to reduce or increase the number of credits granted based on the final activity duration. For more information on each credit type please visit our Continuing Education Credits webpage.

    There is no financial support for this activity.

    Jointly Accredited Provider

    In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB) and CME Outfitters, LLC. CME Outfitters LLC. is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

    Physicians (ACCME): CME Outfitters, LLC, designates this live activity for a maximum of one (1) AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM. CME Outfitters, LLC, designates this enduring activity for a maximum of one (1) AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

    Claiming Credit
    Live Activity - Upon completion of the live activity, you will receive instructions to complete your evaluation, which is necessary to claim credit and receive your certificate of attendance/completion (credit must be claimed by the date provided in the instructions). The evaluation can be found by logging into the AABB Education Platform.

    Enduring Activity - Once the enduring (on-demand) program is available, you will receive instructions to access the AABB Education Platform. Upon completion of viewing the enduring activity, you will need to complete the evaluation, which is necessary to claim credit and receive your certificate of completion (credit must be claimed by the date provided in the AABB Education Platform).

    Program & Credit Expiration Dates:

    • Live Activity Program Date: November 1, 2023; Credit Expiration Date: December 1, 2023
    • Enduring Activity Program Dates: November 1, 2023 – October 31, 2026; Credit Expiration Date: October 31, 2026

    Disclosure Declaration

    It is the policy of CME Outfitters, LLC, and the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies to ensure independence, balance, objectivity, and scientific rigor and integrity in all of their CE activities. Faculty must disclose to the participants any relationships with commercial companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. CME Outfitters, LLC, has evaluated, identified, and mitigated any potential conflicts of interest through a rigorous content validation procedure, use of evidence-based data/research, and a multidisciplinary peer review process. The following information is for participant information only. It is not assumed that the presence of such relationships will have a negative impact on the presentations.

    Disclosures for the planners of this event can be found here. Disclosures for the program faculty, peer reviewers, and CME Outfitters, LLC. personnel are provided at the beginning of the program.

    Faculty Biographies

    Dr. Indira GuleriaDr. Indira Guleria is an Immunologist and Immunogenetics with over 20 years of experience in the field. Most recently she served as Associate Director of the BWH HLA laboratory. Dr. Guleria joins us now as Director of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (HLA) at BIDMC. Dr. Guleria’s primary research involves studying the mechanisms of transplant tolerance, and the role of various costimulatory molecules involved. She is also interested in deciphering the mechanisms of platelet refractoriness including the role of HLA antibodies and HLA epitopes in this process. In addition, she is involved in studying the role of NK cells and MDSCs in transplant outcomes and has partnered with DFCI and Boston Children Hospital’s clinical team to do the same. Dr. Guleria has also been a leader in providing education to fellows, residents, and faculty and has helped develop professional educational programs that aim to enhance knowledge, skill, abilities, and competency of the participants across the hospital and beyond. She currently serves as chair of ASHI Education Initiatives committee, co-leader of AABB’s Current and Emerging Technologies Committee and a member of the Cellular Therapies Section Coordinating Committee.

    Dr. Maria De Los Angeles MunizDr. Maria De Los Angeles Muniz completed her bachelor’s degree in biology, followed by a Medical Technology degree at the University of Puerto Rico, and the Interamerican University, respectively. She then completed her medical school education at Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico, later moving to the US. She completed her training in Anatomical and Clinical Pathology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York city, and subsequently did her fellowship in Transfusion Medicine at the National Institutes of health in Bethesda Maryland. She worked for 10 years at blood centers with the American Red Cross and Vitalant formerly known as Blood Systems. Subsequently she moved into the hospital setting initially holding a position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Weill Cornell/ New York Presbyterian Hospital. At this institution she had the role of Quality and Education director supporting their Transfusion Medicine and Cellular Therapy laboratories.

    Recently, she joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. The services include blood banking, therapeutic apheresis, cell therapy and blood center activities. She provides clinical support to a very diverse and primarily Hispanic population. The hospital system is the site for the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which is designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Muniz is an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies, and volunteers as an advocacy ambassador with the National Marrow Donor Program.

    Dr. Thomas Spitzer Dr. Thomas Spitzer is Medical and Laboratory Director of the Cellular Therapy and Transplantation Laboratory and Emeritus Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, at the Massachusetts General Hospital and is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was previously the Walter Bauer Firm Chief in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Spitzer received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bucknell University and his M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and his Hematology-Oncology fellowship at Case Western Reserve University. His primary research interests have included the development of novel strategies for performing hematopoietic cell transplants across HLA barriers for hematologic malignancies and for inducing specific tolerance for organ transplantation by performing combined bone marrow and kidney transplants. The cellular therapy lab that he directs has provided all the products for hematopoietic cell transplantation at MGH and is currently involved with many novel immune effector cellular therapy trials. He has assumed leadership roles in AABB, including serving as Chair of the Cellular Therapy Section Coordinating Committee and as a member of the Board of Directors. He is a devoted teacher of medical students and residents in his Firm Chief role, and he has been the recipient of teaching awards for his contributions to medical education.