An insightful and well attended CAR-T Logistics: Last 100m Workshop was held on 11th October 2019 at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHNT). This event was hosted by Dr Christopher Herbert, Director of Operations, Research and Innovation at LTHNT and Simon Ellison, Cell and Gene Therapy Service Director at World Courier.
Whilst the logistics pathway for shipping patient-specific samples around the world is now well developed, there is still some structure and definition required around the critical ‘last 100m’ – how these medicines get from the point where the driver delivers them at a hospital or intermediary (e.g. blood service) and their subsequent chain of custody. Whilst this is manageable for the relatively small number of patients currently being treated with commissioned therapies, the challenge of how this would be achieved at scale needs to be addressed to avoid the logistics pathway becoming a blocker to adoption. To kick start the workshop, attendees congregated at one of the hospital’s busy delivery/loading bays to observe a mock delivery of these advanced therapies. The mock shipment was made using 3 different cryo-shipper designs so that the group could understand the impact of size and weight when looking to move therapies and therefore cryo-shippers around clinical sites.
The workshop was facilitated by Dean Bradley, QA and QC Manager at Newcastle Cellular Therapies Facility, with the focus on group work sessions including articulating the problems to be solved, product delivery, getting the product to the patient and training. There were also presentations from Sarah Tehan (Clinical Pharmacy Team Lead, LTHNT), Mark Songhurst (Scan4Safety Project Manager, LTHNT) and Matthew Lakelin (TrakCel, VP Business Development and Scientific Affairs). It was a productive day and the outputs of the group sessions will help develop frameworks of SOPs, identify what local training and competencies are required, develop a chain of custody or flow chart following arrival of an advanced therapy on site to when it reaches the patient, and also potential solutions for tracking the product through the chain of custody to administration to a patient.