Our CEO, Sara Hunt, took an active part in a highly proactive event in October, which saw almost a hundred influential, knowledgeable and experienced minds from government agencies, industry, the NHS leaders and people with lived experience met at the Royal Society of Medicine in London to discuss barriers and develop solutions to the UK Advanced Therapies Adoption Challenge. To watch her presentation: Patient Experience
The future of access for patients to life changing advanced therapies lies in the hands of policy-makers and, in order to remain a life-sciences ‘superpower’, the UK needs to act now. The challenge amounts to an urgent need for rapid change and improvement in the field to maximise patient access to these therapies. Attendees jointly aligned on a need for investment nationally, to tackle disease, increase patient access to potentially life-saving medicines and to boost the UK economy – all achievable with the right resourcing and support.
Instigated by the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (ATTC) Network, coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, the event drew from the exceptional expertise of participants to compile the ‘Advanced Therapies Adoption Challenge in the United Kingdom’ report
The report offers a list of clear recommendations and detailed solutions to the challenge, with headline recommendations being:
- Leverage existing world-leading expertise to enable the UK to be the best place internationally to trial and deliver advanced therapies.
- Realise the value of advanced therapies to ensure that UK patients are able to benefit from the latest cutting-edge health technologies.
- Invest in supporting workforce and delivery infrastructure to allow the UK to benefit from advanced therapy delivery at scale.
- Improve the use of data system-wide to harmonise the advanced therapies ecosystem.
To cement advanced therapies as a strategic, UK-wide health and life sciences policy priority and deliver the clear recommendations and detailed solutions within the report, there is a call to establish a new, multi-stakeholder, cross-departmental advanced therapies taskforce.
The UK remains a leader within Europe on advanced therapy clinical trials but Europe itself is now being left behind on the number of new trials being initiated when compared to both North America and Asia. Nationally the UK has exceptional expertise and the advanced therapy community is poised to lead the way in the research, testing, and implementation of these therapies. However, change is needed to deliver these ambitions at scale. By embracing an ‘innovation-first’ mindset and acting swiftly, experts at the event suggested investment into reinforcing the UK’s already highly skilled research workforce and expediting trial approvals were outlined as key priorities. The future of many patient’s quality of life lies in advanced therapies – as the science develops this will only increase. In order to remain a life-sciences ‘superpower’ the UK needs to act now.
Professor Neil Watson, report author and co-director of the Northern Alliance ATTC, says: “Fundamentally, no change is not an option. We have such a prime opportunity to truly become one of the best places in the world to develop, launch, and receive advanced therapies. Policy-makers must be ready to grasp this opportunity to improve both the UK economy and, importantly, patient access by investing in advanced therapies. Within the current and very near future science, there is potential and real possibility for conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s to benefit from gene and cell therapies. The science suggests this is achievable, and that within a decade many people will be able to sit with their doctor to discuss how a cell or gene therapy might be part of their treatment – and this is not just for rare diseases or advanced cancer as it is now”.