Cell and Tissue Banking

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Results from a horizon scan on risks associated with transplantation of human organs, tissues and cells: from donor to patient

  • C. A. Herberts
  • M. V. D. Z. Park
  • J. W. G. A. Pot
  • C. G. J. C. A. de Vries


The successful transplantation of human materials such as organs, tissues and cells into patients does not only depend on the benefits, but also on the mitigation of risks. To gain insight into recent publications on risks associated with the process of transferring human materials from donor to recipient we performed a horizon scan by reviewing scientific literature and news websites of 2011 on this subject. We found there is ample information on how extended donor criteria, such as donor age, affect the survival rates of organs or patients. Interestingly, gender mismatch does not appear to be a major risk factor in organ rejection. Data on risks of donor tumor transmission was very scarce; however, risk categories for various tumor types have been suggested. In order to avoid rejection, a lot of research is directed towards engineering tissues from a patient’s own tissues and cells. Some but not all of these developments have reached the clinic. Developments in the field of stem cell therapy are rapid. However, many hurdles are yet to be overcome before these cells can be applied on a large scale in the clinic. The processes leading to genetic abnormalities in cells differentiated from stem cells need to be identified in order to avoid transplantation of aberrant cells. New insights have been obtained on storage and preservation of human materials, a critical step for success of their clinical use. Likewise, quality management systems have been shown to improve the quality and safety of human materials used for transplantation.


Medical use Human organ Human tissue Human cells Risk Procurement Processing Donation 



This investigation has been performed by order and for the account of the Health Care Inspectorate of the Netherlands, and is part of an ongoing horizon scanning system for new and emerging medical products.

Supplementary material

10561_2014_9450_MOESM1_ESM.doc (50 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Herberts
    • 1
  • M. V. D. Z. Park
    • 2
  • J. W. G. A. Pot
    • 2
  • C. G. J. C. A. de Vries
    • 2
  1. 1.Section on Pharmacology, Toxicology and BiotechnologyMedicines Evaluation Board (MEB)UtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Centre for Health ProtectionNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)BilthovenThe Netherlands

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