To review the potential health risks associated with bioengineered ocular surface tissue, which serves as a bellwether for other tissues.
All clinical trials using bioengineered ocular surface tissue published between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 2005, were reviewed with respect to materials used and statements of risk assessment, risk remediation, adverse events, manufacturing standards, and regulatory oversight.
Ninety-five percent of investigational protocols used 1 or more animal-derived products and an overlapping 95% used 1 or more donor human tissues. Consideration of risks reveals a very low probability of potential harm but a significant risk of disability or death if such an event were to occur. Details of ethics approval, patient consent, and donor serologic test results were not consistently provided. No references were made to risk assessment or to codes of manufacturing and clinical practice.
While a degree of risk is associated with bioengineered ocular surface tissue, investigational reports of this new technology have yet to address issues of risk management and regulatory oversight.
Attention to risk and codes of manufacturing and clinical practice will be required for advancement of the technology. We suggest the adoption of international standards to address these issues.