Left: A Cell Therapy Specialist uses the ELUTRA counter-flow elutriation cell processing device.
Top: A Cell Therapy Specialist verifying the tubing seal after using a sterile tubing welder.
Above: A Cell Therapy Specialist removing samples from cryopreservation.
whose bone marrow was destroyed by these aggressive treatments. The bone marrow transplants Preti worked on allowed
physicians to remove the marrow, attempt to purify it from
contaminating tumor cells (autologous transplant) or active
lymphocytes (allogeneic transplant), save it, and then return
it to the patient when needed. It was also at this time that
graft engineering became a reality. As Preti explains, “It made
no sense to return bone marrow that might be full of tumor
cells back to the patient. Therefore, graft engineering (tissue
replacement) gave rise to another industry which we now call
cell therapy and regenerative medicine. We are now able to
perform experimental manipulation to transform cells of the
body into replacement parts for other parts of the body or to
provide other mechanisms to treat disease.” During this time,
he was also part of the founding of the International Society
for Hematotherapy and Graft Engineering (ISHAGE), now called
the International Society of Cell Therapy (ISCT).
By 1996, Preti relates, his own vision for the role of a
EARLY SUCCESSES AND GROWTH
contract provider of these types of services was broadened
beyond the manufacturing and supplying of bone marrow,
and he became interested in other clinical aspects of the
cell therapy business. “I wanted to create hearts for people,
and be part of developing cures, not just palliative thera-
pies, as important as they had been to the advancement of
medicine. And it became clear that there was a worldwide
industry developing that could use the type of assistance
that we were providing, although we would need to commit
to investing in more sophisticated facilities, systems, staff
and new technologies to really make it happen.”
Preti founded PCT in 1997 with a colleague, Andrew
Pecora, M.D., then the Hackensack University Medical
Center’s (HUMC) bone marrow transplant director, whom he
met when HUMC was a client of the New York Blood Center.
Pecora also had a similar vision for the future of cell therapy
and regenerative medicine. Preti explains, “We made a good
team. Andrew brought clinical experience to the picture; he
knew the patients, he knew what the doctors wanted to see,
and he knew what these therapies needed to look like when
they reached the bedside.” With their combined vision and
experience, Preti and Pecora launched PCT, the first for profit
contract manufacturing organization in the field.
PCT started in a small manufacturing facility in
Hackensack, NJ in a facility commissioned in HUMC in
One of PCT’s earliest successes was securing Dendreon
as a client. “That was really big for us,” said Preti. “Working
THE PCT STORY