Cell-based product classification procedure: What can be done differently to improve decisions on borderline products?

Ander Izeta, Concha Herrera, Rosario Mata, Giuseppe Astori, Rosaria Giordano, Carmen Hernández, Laura Leyva, Salvador Arias, Salvador Oyonarte, Gloria Carmona, Natividad Cuende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In June 2015, European Medicines Agency/Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT) released the new version of the reflection paper on classification of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) established to address questions of borderline cases in which classification of a product based on genes, cells or tissues is unclear. The paper shows CAT's understanding of substantial manipulation and essential function(s) criteria that define the legal scope of cell-based medicinal products. This article aims to define the authors' viewpoint on the reflection paper. ATMP classification has intrinsic weaknesses derived from the lack of clarity of the evolving concepts of substantial manipulation and essential function(s) as stated in the EU Regulation, leading to the risk of differing interpretations and misclassification. This might result in the broadening of ATMP scope at the expense of other products such as cell/tissue transplants and blood products, or even putting some present and future clinical practice at risk of being classified as ATMP. Because of the major organizational, economic and regulatory implications of product classification, we advocate for increased interaction between CAT and competent authorities (CAs) for medicines, blood and blood components and tissues and cells or for the creation of working groups including representatives of all parties as recently suggested by several CAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-815
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Accessibility
  • Blood cell transfusion
  • Cell transplantation
  • Cell-based borderline products
  • Cell-based medicinal products
  • Classification procedure
  • Essential functions
  • Regulation
  • Substantial manipulation
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Transplantation
  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology


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