Athens, 10 November 2021 – The naming ceremony of the “Nicola David-Pinedo” Hematopoietic Graft Processing and Cellular Therapy Laboratory at the Hematology and Lymphoma Clinic, Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit of the “EVANGELISMOS” Athens General Hospital was held in the presence of Director Mr. Anastasios Grigoropoulos and members of the Administration of “EVANGELISMOS” General Hospital, members of the G. David family, and Mr.Clemente Pinedo, President and founding member of AURORA. AURORA was founded in memory of Nicola David-Pinedo and focuses on the fight against hematological diseases.
The specialized equipment of the Hematopoietic Graft Processing and Cellular Therapy Laboratory is a major donation in the memory of Nicola David-Pinedo and an inspiration for the establishment of AURORA, as well as an essential step forward in the treatment of blood cancers and especially the treatment of advanced stage patients. Thanks to this donation, “EVANGELISMOS”, one of the country's emblematic public hospitals, was the first hospital in Greece, out 4 in total, to receive certification for application of the innovative CAR-T cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy that specifically targets cancer cells.
In his greeting, the Director of “EVANGELISMOS” General Hospital Mr. Anastasios Grigoropoulos said: “It was a great pleasure to attend the naming of the “Nicola – David Pinedo” Hematopoietic Graft Processing and Cellular Therapy Laboratory of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit of the Hematology & Lymphoma Clinic. On behalf of Evangelismos General Hospital, I would like to warmly thank AURORA which has been supporting hematological patients since 2018, and with which we share common goals for improving the hospitalization conditions of patients with hematological diseases. Thanks to this support, our hospital was the first hospital in the country to apply this promising method and one of the 4 Greek hospitals that use it.”
Clemente Pinedo, chairman and founding member of AURORA, said: “AURORA aims to help make leukemia and other related blood diseases 100% curable. Today we are one step closer. We hope that through the specialized equipment we donated in Nicola's memory to the Hematopoietic Graft Processing and Cellular Therapy Laboratory, we will contribute to increasing the survival rates of patients suffering from hematological diseases, to supporting the work of medical and nursing staff with innovative tools and new treatment options, and, most importantly, we will always be there to offer support to those in need of comforting and hope.”
Funding hospitals to acquire the most advanced equipment and new therapeutic methods in leading hospitals is a key way to support both patients and medical staff and a central pillar of AURORA's work. In addition, the organization focuses on strengthening scientific research by funding scientific research projects and providing research grants that accelerate efforts to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and other malignant blood diseases, like the research grant for a two-year research program of the “EVANGELISMOS” General Hospital in 2020.
At the same time, it offers free accommodation to low-income patients whose main residence is not in Athens, combining hospitality with a range of services that help patients and families cope with the critical period after bone marrow transplantation. By the end of 2021, AURORA plans to offer accommodation to patients in Patras as well.
Finally, recognizing the importance of psychological support during the treatment period, AURORA stands by patients offering free psychological support from qualified professionals.
About CAR-T treatment
CAR T-cell therapy is the most novel type of adoptive immunotherapy for patients with intractable B-cell lymphomas. In the near future the indications for CAR T-cell therapies will be extended to other hematological malignancies as well as solid tumours.
These are autologous lymphocytes of the patient, which acquire strong antineoplastic action after being genetically modified. When administered intravenously to the patient, they recognize the tumour and destroy it, increasing considerably the probability of cure in malignancies that are resistant to all conventional therapies.
In Greece, CAR T-cell therapies have been applied in accredited bone marrow transplantation units since January 2020; namely, in the “Evangelismos” General Hospital, Athens, “G. Papanikolaou” Hospital, Thessaloniki, for adults and in the “Agia Sofia” Children's Hospital, Athens, for children.
Aurora was founded in June 2018 in memory of Nicola David Pinedo, with the aim of improving the care provided to patients, providing support to their families, increasing patient survival, strengthening specialized medical centres in Greece and beyond, and contributing to the development of research in the field of oncohematology, constantly promoting dialogue and exchange of views within global academia.