Voluntary accreditation of cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products intended for human transplantation is an important mechanism for improving quality in cellular therapy. The Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) has developed and implemented programs of voluntary inspection and accreditation for hematopoietic cellular therapy, and for cord blood banking. These programs are based on the standards of the clinical and laboratory professionals of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT), the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), and NETCORD. FACT has collaborated with European colleagues in the development of the Joint Accreditation Committee in Europe (jACIE). FACT has published standards documents, a guidance manual, accreditation checklists, and inspection documents; and has trained as inspectors over 300 professionals active in the field. All inspectors have a minimum of 5 years' experience in the area they inspect. Since the incorporation of FACT in 1996, 215 hematopoietic progenitor cell facilities have applied for FACT accreditation. Of these facilities, 113 are fully accredited; the others are in the process of document submission or inspection. Significant opportunities and challenges exist for FACT in the future, including keeping standards and guidance materials current and relevant, recruiting and retaining expert inspectors, and establishing collaborations to develop standards and accreditation systems for new cellular products. The continuing dialogue with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also important to ensure that they are aware of the accomplishments of voluntary accreditation, and keep FACT membership alerted to FDA intentions for the future. Other potential avenues of communication and cooperation with FDA and other regulatory agencies are being investigated and evaluated.
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