The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted a recommendation1 calling on member states to take measures to protect the health of donors of haematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). These cells are used as a lifesaving treatment for patients with severe blood diseases and are the most frequently donated cells for transplantation.
HPCs can be donated by blood relatives of the recipient, if they are immunologically compatible, or by benevolent strangers enrolled on public registries created to increase the chance of patients finding a compatible match. While HPCs can save many patients’ lives, it is also essential to protect the health and the rights of living donors, regardless of their relationship with potential recipients, their country of residence or the country where the donation and transplantation procedures take place.
With this recommendation, the European Committee on Organ Transplantation (CT-P-TO) – the steering committee in charge of organ transplantation activities at the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) – issues guidance based on the most robust scientific evidence available to ensure harmonised protection measures are in place in all Council of Europe member states. The new guidance addresses the screening and evaluation of potential donors, short- and long-term post-donation follow-up, and the need to collect data to enable professionals in the field to learn from experience and maximise the safety of future donors.