BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center will be the site of a $98 million cell and gene therapy hub, the first of its kind in New York State, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday.

The facility will be used for research and development of new technology including cell therapies aimed at fighting cancer. Empire State Development is investing $30 million in the project, which will expand Roswell’s Therapeutic Cell Production Facility from six specialized clean rooms to 20. That would be the largest academic cell and gene therapy facility in the United States.

“Roswell Park has amassed incredile expertise and capabilities in this emerging field of cellular therapy, and thanks to ESD’s support we are able to speed toward our goal of creating one of the largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind anywhere in the world,” said Leecia Eve, chair of Roswell Park’s board of directors.

Cell therapy is an emerging field of teatment that attacks diseases like cancer by manufacturing reprogrammed cells. Research has shown the therapies could have success for patients with blood-based cancers, which were previously considered untreatable.

Current cell therapies are deployed on what are called liquid tumors, like leukemia and lymphoma. Roswell’s facility will focus on developing cell therapies to attack solid tumors.

“This new facility will ceate revolutionary treatments hopefully resulting in better outcomes for those battling cancer,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

The facility will be one of two cell and gene therapy hub in New York State, with another planned for downstate. Both sites are part of a $620 million initiative involving both public and private investment to grow the state’s life science field.

“Governor Hochul’s commitment to grow cell and gene therapy offers tremendous potential to increase intellectual property, create and attract companies to commercialize these producs, attract private investment, and form partnerships with biopharma companies,” said Hope Knight, CEO and commissioner of ESD.

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Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.