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SUMMARY: Cellular therapeutic agents considerably contribute to the optimal treatment of patients with hematological malignancies such as leukemia or nonhematological disorders. Over the last 50 years especially the transplantation of autologous and allogeneic stem cells from different sources after high-dose or myeloablative chemotherapy became a well-established standard therapy that cures or alleviates the symptoms in more than 50,000 patients/year worldwide. In the near future, the current progress in fundamental research on stem cells and immunobiology will allow for the clinical implementation of novel advanced cellular therapies, including gene therapeutic options. The European and German legislation have realized the need of international regulations for improved standardization and harmonization of stem cell transplants, associated cell-therapeutic agents as well as various tissue-engineered preparations in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. The Tissue Directive 2004/23/EC, issued and ratified by the European Parliament in March 2004, and its national transition into the German Tissue Act which came into force in July 2007 define the quality and safety standards for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage, and distribution of human tissues and cells. These standards are of high relevance to ensure the efficient prevention of the transmission of viral and nonviral infectious pathogens and to achieve the same safeguards as in the population's blood supply. This review discusses the pros and cons of the new legislation and argues for keeping the administrative and regulative demands in reasonable limits and for offering innovative approaches of cellular therapies to the European citizens.
Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy 01/2008; 35(6):446-452. DOI:10.1159/000171661 · 2.01 Impact Factor