The Northern Alliance Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre and ‘Institutional Readiness’

The Northern Alliance Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (NAATTC), recently funded by Innovate-UK, will ‘increase patient access to advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) regionally and nationally by growing a cost-effective clinical delivery pathway which meets the needs of the providers of advanced therapy products’.  It is one of three such centres supported by I-UK and coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. Together they provide extremely important and valuable test-beds for re-thinking how to coordinate academic, commercial and clinical partners (NHS Trusts in particular) to enable the uptake of advanced therapies.

The Centre is drawing on the concept of ‘institutional readiness’ to help do this. This model was developed through an ESRC-funded research project led by Andrew Webster undertaken between 2014-17 that explored the emergence of regenerative medicine. The full results of the project are reported elsewhere on the EuroStemCell website:

There is considerable social science research on the challenges associated with the adoption of biomedical innovation in clinical settings, as well as wider discussion of the implementation of innovation(s). This shows the importance of understanding the organisational and wider institutional setting within which innovation emerges: the ‘institutional’ here refers to the broader environmental (e.g. regulatory, legal and policy fields) that foster and govern emergent technologies (eg in relation to standards development and the validation of new tools).

The IR idea was also strongly linked to the need to understand the quite specific challenges of regenerative medicine, i.e ones not seen elsewhere, not least related to the medical product being based on live tissue (unlike drug compounds).

The advent of the three ATTCs funded by Innovate-UK provided an excellent opportunity to see how these might test-bed the IR concept. For further information about the institutional readiness framework see the following open access paper:

If you would like more information on how you could use the IR framework, please contact Professor Andrew Webster at the University of York: tel 01904 324740