The Northern Alliance ATTC is playing a key role in the Pharmacy Working Group (PWG), a national body established to act as an expert and informed body on the use of ATMPs within the NHS, promote good practice, to identify and resolve problems, to maximise the effectiveness and development of services and to address all pharmacy issues relevant to ATMPs. The group is embedded in NHS England’s Specialist Pharmacy Service.
At The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Anne Black (Regional QA Specialist Pharmacist – North East and North Cumbria) Chairs the PWG and has overseen the establishment of three subgroups that feed into the overarching body. These subgroups cover different pharmacy related aspects of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) through the clinical stages of their commercialisation journey:
- Clinical Trials: with a focus on Advanced Therapy Investigational Medicinal Products (ATIMPs)
- Clinical Pharmacy: with a focus largely on marketed ATMPs
- Governance: of both ATIMPs and ATMPs
Colleagues from Northern Alliance’s clinical sites are closely involved with the workings of the PWG, sharing their experience and knowledge on ATMPs. In addition to Anne Black, these include Dave Caulfield (Newcastle Hospitals), Dean Bradley (Newcastle Cellular Therapies Facility), Samantha Carmichael (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde), Sarah Tehan (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust), and Sumantha Gabriel (Newcastle Hospitals, and co-Chair of the PWG Clinical Pharmacy Subgroup). Kath Tanney (Newcastle Hospitals) also provides Project Management support to the PWG Clinical Pharmacy Subgroup.
The output of the PWG work will be guidelines, institutional readiness documents for specific classes of ATMPs, SOPs and checklists that are available to pharmacists and other practitioners in the UK and further afield to enable the safe and effective adoption of ATMPs. PWG publications to date, including the Pharmacy Institutional Readiness for Marketed CAR-T Therapy: Checklists for Pharmacy Services, can be found here https://www.sps.nhs.uk.
The NA-ATTC’s key contributions to the PWG are helping enable this group to achieve its objectives, the benefit of which will be realised UK wide.
We are entering an unprecedented era, with a wealth of these innovative technologies on the horizon for adoption by the NHS – the PWG will ensure that pharmacists are equipped with the knowledge and tools to ensure that they meet their responsibilities regarding ATMPs as readily as they currently do for other classes of medicines.