Advances in 3D and other in vitro tissue model platforms have led to fundamental improvements in research on human disease, development of novel therapies, and safety testing. In addition, histological and cellular investigations of human tissues continue to serve as keystones in understanding disease and health processes. In recognition of the importance of human tissues in research, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine held a workshop. Working closely with key stakeholders from the research community, regulatory agencies, and organ procurement organizations, the goal was to explore, understand, and address the barriers to increased use of human organs, tissues, and cells in research. Workshop participants were tasked with identifying the challenges of accessing and qualifying tissues for research purposes and creating a strategy to help meet the needs of the research communities to increase the availability and quality of human tissues in biomedical and translational research. Break-out groups identified significant challenges in the areas of policy, scientific development, and public engagement with respect to the provision and application of tissues and cells for scientific advancement. Following working group recommendations, stakeholders concluded that there is a need to facilitate the availability and quality of human tissues for the research community, as well as provide a framework for education of the public, medical professionals, and researchers to foster donation and utilization for research in place of animal models. The success of these new initiatives will facilitate greater access to high-quality human tissues for biomedical and translational research and help ensure the transition away from the dependence on animal models.
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