My name is Robert Otto Jones, RN, BSN, CABP. I am originally from southern Illinois and currently live in the Charleston, SC, area. I work as an oncology clinical educator in the pharmaceutical industry.
I first became interested in biotherapies while working as an apheresis nurse many years ago. I then transitioned into a clinical role at a pharmaceutical company, as part of a team setting up the apheresis network for this company as we commercialized the first autologous cellular therapy approved by the FDA. This therapy required educating, training, and monitoring the apheresis network. It was also an important task to train and educate the prescribing oncology sites on infusion and adverse event management of this product. While working at this cellular therapy company and being on the forefront of this new technology, I began to research more and see what was on the horizon in this area. I quickly learned the future for biotherapies was amazing. What truly attracted me to biotherapies was having a curious mind, a knack for simplifying complex tasks, and a desire to learn more about this field.
I first started using educational materials created by AABB while working as an apheresis nurse. Following that, I became more involved while working on the first autologous cellular therapy approved by the FDA. We had to develop multiple protocols internally and educational materials for our external customers. There were no roadmaps that we could learn from, as this was a new process. We faced many hurdles with this new therapy and AABB educational resources were beneficial for my professional and educational growth, as well as helping me network with individuals in different areas of the cellular therapies process.
AABB has been a leader in developing processes and educational materials to educate individuals and teams working in biotherapies as these new innovative products are coming to the forefront to help patients.
It was important for me to study and test for the CABP to educate myself on all facets of patient care and the treatments that patients under the care of nurses and healthcare professionals that I educate may be undergoing. As cellular therapy and gene therapy treatments emerge from clinical trials, it is good to understand the process that a patient goes through as well as adverse event management in both, so that patients can be treated safely and effectively.
The CABP program can benefit the biotherapies field by building a community of experts in the field to help develop these products and make it easier for patients to obtain these potentially life-changing therapies.
When you have experts who have the experience in treating patients with cellular and gene therapies or those clinicians who have been through the process of bringing a therapy to market, it is beneficial to recognize those individuals and the expertise that they possess.
The CABP exam verifies that you have the knowledge and understanding of these therapies whether you treat a patient with them or develop an applicable product.
Understanding the life cycle of drug development in biotherapies at every point is critical, as the process of developing these therapies can be much different than other types of medications. Also, understanding how to treat patients with these life changing therapies in a commercial setting is paramount as well.
I truly believe that anyone involved in the treatment of patients, whether in research or in a commercial setting, as well as individuals involved in the development and manufacturing process of these biotherapies would benefit from this certification.
I am not working on this project, but I am most excited to see the progress made on a new cellular therapy for type 1 diabetes, as I have a daughter and many family members with this disease.
*Please note the views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of Robert Otto Jones and are not intended to reflect the views and/or opinions of Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Becoming a CABP is a mark of distinction, establishing that qualified professionals have demonstrated – through a certification exam – that they have the necessary knowledge to credibly practice in the field of biotherapies.