How partners are working together to drive innovation in advanced therapies
Thursday November 9, 2023
By Dr Mark Jarvis, Director of Newcastle Advanced Therapies at Newcastle Hospitals
Across Newcastle Health Innovation Partners (NHIP) we are harnessing the potential of innovations in advanced therapies by working together, for the benefit of patients.
Advanced therapies are innovative biological medicines which are providing new and exciting ways to treat disease and injury. These therapies can be genes, tissues and cells or a combination of all three that can be manipulated, processed, or engineered to provide a solution to rare and common conditions that have limited or even no treatment or cure.
Some examples of advanced therapies include genetic engineering of T cells, a specific type of white blood cell that helps fight disease, to recognise specific proteins on cancer cells and target their destruction; inserting a new functional copy of a gene into specific cells to correct a faulty or missing gene that causes disease; and the creation of new tissues from stem cells to repair damaged organs.
Advanced therapies are therefore at the cutting edge of medicine and offer great hope for improved patient outcomes across many conditions. To successfully harness the potential of advanced therapies and accelerate innovation in this area, we need to support multidisciplinary partners to work together, building upon existing strengths. As Director of Newcastle Advanced Therapies at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust I work closely with my colleague Professor John Isaacs, to ensure the hospital and Newcastle University build on their excellent science and engage collectively with the broader NHIP partnership to increase access to advanced therapies for patients across our region and beyond.
The strength in collaboration between Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle University, and in addition the momentum created by the NHIP partners has enabled Newcastle to deliver some key successes in advanced therapies. We are the only bone marrow transplant service in the UK that can deliver a full range of cellular therapies for both adults and children and we are the third largest provider in the UK for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy. Our portfolio of clinical services has expanded to include the culture of limbal stem cells to treat eye conditions and isolating islet cells as a therapeutic approach to chronic pancreatitis.
The colocation of scientists, clinicians, pharmacists, and specialist laboratories have enabled Newcastle to work with a significant number of commercial partners to enable innovation to directly benefit patients in our region. This includes becoming the first centre in the UK to treat patients with gene therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the first in Europe to treat patients with gene therapy for Pompe disease and a world first for stem cell therapy in stroke patients. The team in Newcastle Advanced Therapies are also involved in several collaborative research projects including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Myocardial Infarction, and stem cell transplantation.
It is so important that we continue this work as the field of advanced therapies is growing at a rate of nearly 25% annually and it is estimated to have a value of 13 billion USD globally. The UK is a world leader, second only to the US, in cell and gene therapies with the number of new clinical trials and the number of approved and licensed medicines predicted to significantly increase over the next ten years. This will have a significant impact on many patients and families who are faced with a debilitating condition that currently has no cure and where advanced therapies could provide hope.
Here at Newcastle the patients are at the centre of everything we do, and we strive to be at the forefront of advanced therapies providing the clinical and scientific expertise required, the regulatory governance and oversight to ensure that these medicines are safe, and the specialist laboratory infrastructure and expertise required to produce high-quality medicines to treat a range of diseases.
Newcastle Advanced Therapies is an essential enabler to take forward the scientific and clinical excellence in Newcastle in the field of advanced therapies through partnership working and through the specialist knowledge, expertise, and environment we provide. Our aim is to continue to enhance Newcastle’s capabilities, capacity, and reputation in advanced therapies and ensure there is continued investment in the people, infrastructure and regulatory governance required to support clinical and academic ambition in responding to the needs of our patients.
I am immensely proud of the work we do, and we will continue to work with NHIP to realise the opportunities that exist in this field. If you are interested in finding out more about the work that we do please visit www.newcastleadvancedtherapies.co.uk or get in touch with us using email@example.com.