An improved donor-to-patient supply chain for blood, tissue and cell therapy products across Scotland, is being developed by academics from Heriot-Watt University’s School of Management and Languages and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS).
A new SNBTS National Centre is scheduled to open at the Heriot-Watt Research Park at Riccarton, in 2017. Blood, tissues and cells donated throughout Scotland will need to be safely transported to the new centre, processed and then allocated to hospitals across the country for clinical use.
As well as ensuring the safety and traceability of product through the supply chain, the shelf life of products can be problematic, varying from many years, for frozen stem cells for example, to mere hours for some highly specialised cell therapies, presenting significant challenges within the NHS.
The teams from Heriot-Watt and SNBTS are designing a more efficient supply chain system able to tackle these challenges while reducing costs and improving the match between patient demand and donor supply.
Speaking about the project, Dr Christine Rutherford, Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University said, “The blood supply chain is a challenging problem, uniquely combining criteria including short shelf-life, temperature dependency, donor management and a complex donor-to patient network.
“Such a supply chain gives the potential for new knowledge creation in the areas of supply chain design and network resilience.”
The project, which has received £103,130 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funding from Innovate UK, will run for three years.