cell and gene therapy use specimens from patients to manufacture personalized treatments that are applied to the donor. Cells and tissues are harvested from a patient and sent to an external laboratory so that they may be cultured over weeks before they are ready to be re-introduced to the patient.
However, if the quality of the shipment deteriorates during transportation, this entire process will have to be started over again.
The cell and gene therapy supply chain industry is riddled with many challenges. However, opportunities may arise from each of these challenges that can help improve the transportation of these highly sensitive materials.
In many cases, cells are collected from multiple facilities before they are delivered to the laboratory and then returned to the patient. The challenge in the gene and cell therapy industry is to understand each component of the supply chain and find out their individual needs.
For example, an apheresis collection needs to be refrigerated at a temperature between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. In addition, finished cell therapies may need to be stored with liquid nitrogen or at cryogenic temperatures that are hundreds of degrees below zero to maintain their integrity.
As such, foolproof technology has been introduced to track individual specimen shipments for the success of the cell and gene supply chain. The industry has benefited from temperature solutions, optimal packaging, and monitoring capabilities that are proven and validated.
The latest temperature technology can now accommodate a wide range of temperatures required for the success of cell and gene therapy shipments.
Real-time cell and gene therapy systems use geolocation technology to track and report shipments in transit with accuracy. Thanks to geofencing technology, fleet managers can know when the vehicle carrying the sensitive specimen deviates from the expected routes.
In addition, shipment data is communicated to a dashboard via 5G wireless technology, which can trigger automated alerts in case of excursions so that contingency plans can be prepared. The data collected in transit proves that the product was kept at the right temperatures and conditions. In addition, the software is also used to analyze driver performance, address any issues, and make plans for future specimen shipment.
Packaging needs for cell and gene therapy transportation require significant consideration. With cross-border shipments, it is not always possible to get a 24-hour turnaround between various geographical locations. It can be challenging to produce packaging that can hold temperature variances with acceptable ranges, especially when you need to consider various climatic regions in a single shipment.
As such, it is important to see the gene and cell therapy supply chain end-to-end, not as an individual and separate component. Making a change to one component can have counterproductive effects throughout the entire chain, which can result in a loss of integrity for the specimen or finished therapy.
Reliable and timely delivery of cell therapy is a critical aspect of the supply chain. As such, logistic services need to consider contingency planning in case of any unexpected incident that requires an immediate response.
Some cell therapy requirements include innovations in new packaging, new types of storage options, and cold supply chain validation. This ensures the integrity of the materials in transit from the manufacturer to the medical professional to the patient.
Cell and gene therapy is a growing field and requires an integrated approach to logistics that is personalized for each therapy. Ultimately, it is important for logistics and transport suppliers to become intimately connected with labs, clinicians, and manufacturers. This will help them design highly personalized logistic support they need to deliver therapies to patients.
If you are looking for logistic solutions for cell and gene therapy, BEAM Logistics has you covered. Schedule an appointment to discuss your needs today.