Sharing data on human tissue availability across EU

The Council of Europe encourages EU Member States to share tissue and cell availability data to support donation access and State self-sufficiency.

Surgeons transferring tissue sample into test tube

The Committee of Ministers for the Council of Europe has adopted a recommendation for Member States to collate use and availability data for tissues and cells, so that immediate provision is granted to end users. Sharing data across borders ensures access to safe tissues and cells for human application is ethical and supply quality is adequate, said the Council in a statement.

Currently, there is limited data on tissue and cell availability, due to the absence of unanimity and transparency on what data is needed for different objectives, understanding of the terminology used and a mutual agreement authorisation on data collection.

The European Committee on Organ Transplantation (CD-P-TO) of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & Healthcare (EDQM) raises awareness about transplant donations, promotes donation standards and necessary measures to avoid tissue and organ trafficking.

In order to carry out this work, the Council stated that governments must know which patient populations require supply and have accurate tissue and cell availability data to action this. When this is done, appropriate transplant supply needs can be met and adequate funding for tissue, cell and organ donation schemes can be identified.

In July, The European Commission (EC) drafted a proposal for new regulation for blood, tissue and cell (BTC) donations to aid movement of these products by facilitating cross-border distribution and guaranteeing consistent safety and quality measures. Improving communication between public health authorities was also a key aim. The necessity for more cohesive and effective systems is backed by the high numbers of transplants each year eg, 2,000 skin transplants are used for burn wounds in the EU annually.

Thus, sharing suitable availability data prevents dependence on countries outside of Europe for resources, especially important to strengthen crisis planning in scenarios where donation availability is impacted.