As a passionate advocate for gene and cell therapies, Fiona Thistlethwaite (Medical Oncology Consultant at The Christie Hospital & Director of IMATCH in Manchester, UK) gave a look into the future of the new ‘norm’ for gene and cell therapy centres of excellence by outlining the current infrastructure in Manchester.
Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapies Centre Hub is a network of organisations collaborating to bring multiple cell therapies across multiple diseases, to patients in a giant exercise of collaboration and coordination across the healthcare network.
Outlining the journey of IMATCH, Fiona highlighted the need to partner with multiple, external 3rd party stakeholders including the Pharma Industry, CROs and academic teaching centres; to break down traditional ‘silo’ mentality working of different clinical specialties in the Trust; and in establishing new governance infrastructures. One of the fascinating insights was the need to forecast capacity considerations, to assess the ability of whether a new trial study could be adopted given the potential use of valuable resources such as ITU beds. As Fiona put it, “there’s a difference in taking on something new when it only may involve 4-5 patients, but a completely different matter if it’s 15-20 patients over the course of a year”.
Every request we receive to start a gene / cell therapy trial gets reviewed through an overarching governance committee. The learning’s we’ve gained over the last few years have helped in our teaching and training of all staff. We now have an MSc that we encourage our nurses to undertake that includes things such as the patient management factors in CRS (Cytokine Release Syndrome)