Ms. Jackie Chappell, a consultant pharmacists with King’s College Hospital (KCH) NHS Foundation Trust, a major center for bone marrow centers in the United Kingdom (UK), became the first hospital in the UK to offer licensed chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy to treat adults with lymphoma. Thus far, they have treated 50 patients.
A Brief History
Ms. Chappell spent 22 years as the pharmacy team lad for hematology/oncology and now is excited about her mission, serving as a consultant pharmacists where she specializes in hematology and advanced medicinal therapy products (ATMPs)—a new class of medicines that happens to include CAR-T therapy reports Pharmaceutical Journal.
What happens during CAR-T therapy?
Ms. Chappell notes that during this process, the patient’s T-cells are removed (from the blood), genetically modified, and infused back into the patient. Once this infusion occurs, the CAR-T cell then seeks out to attack and destroy the patient’s cancer cells.
Complex Treatment and Trials
As Ms. Chappell notes, the patient journey represents a complex one as the patient pathway—not to mention the CAR-T cell product—is highly complex and necessitates a multidisciplinary team collaborating to ensure that the patient has a safe and timely treatment. Hence Ms. Chappell’s experience not only in clinical pharmacy, but also in exposure to other departments and functions such as clinical trials, governance, quality assurance, and others, are key.
Her function is primarily for the development and management of pharmacy services associated with CAR-T treatment. She must juggle these responsibilities and deal with the demands for fast turnaround necessary in many of these processes.
It so happens that Ms. Chappell is also involved with helping to achieve site accreditation by NHS England, Europe’s accreditation body for cellular therapy, and the pharmaceutical companies who provide the product—Ms. Chappell is an important person there!
A Demanding Job Description
From the establishment of policies and procedures for all aspects of the CAR-T product there to finances and organizing lymphodepletion chemotherapy—to critical logistical housekeeping such as ensuring and maintaining compliance with product storage requirements—Ms. Chappell is a busy professional there.
Some Key Activities
· Monitoring Patients for signs of toxicities
· Collaboration with other pharmacists—for example, she is part of the Pan UK ATMP Pharmacy Working Group