Promoting and supporting tissue banks and professionals, fostering extraordinary people saving and improving lives through the gift of cells and tissues.
The mission of the Association is to honor donors and to save and improve lives by promoting the safety, quality and availability of donated tissue for transplantation, and non-transplant anatomical material for education. AATB seeks to accomplish its mission by establishing and promulgating standards, administering accreditation and certification programs, interacting with regulatory agencies and legislative officials, and fostering education and research.
History and Background
The American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) is a professional, non-profit, scientific and educational organization. It is the only national tissue banking organization in the United States, and its membership totals more than 130 accredited tissue banks and 2,000 individual members. These banks recover tissue from more than 30,000 donors and distribute in excess of two million allografts for more than 1.75 million tissue transplants performed annually in the U.S. The overwhelming majority of the human tissue distributed for these transplants comes from AATB-accredited tissue banks.
The Association was founded in 1976 by a group of doctors and scientists who had started in 1949 our nation’s first tissue bank, the United States Navy Tissue Bank. Recognizing the increasing use of human tissue for transplant, these individuals saw the need for a national organization to develop standards, promote ethics and increase donations.
Since its beginning, the AATB has been dedicated to improving and saving lives by promoting the safety, quality and availability of donated human tissue. To fulfill that mission, the AATB publishes standards, accredits tissue banks and certifies personnel. The association also interacts with regulatory agencies and conducts educational meetings.
First published in 1984 and presently in its 13th edition, the AATB’s Standards for Tissue Banking are recognized in both the United States and around the world as the definitive guide for tissue banking. These Standards are the only private tissue-banking standards published in the United States, and they are the most comprehensive and detailed tissue-banking standards in the world. As such, the AATB’s Standards have served as the model for federal and state regulations as well as several international directives and standards. Currently, the statutes and/or regulations of more than 20 states reference AATB’s Standards, institutional accreditation, or individual certification. At least six states require AATB accreditation for any tissue bank operating in their state.
Beginning in 1986, the AATB initiated a mandatory Accreditation Program for its institutional members to ensure that tissue-banking activities are performed in a professional manner in compliance with its Standards. Today, the AATB Accreditation Program remains the only private accreditation program for tissue banks in the U.S. In 1988, the Association also began a Certified Tissue Banking Specialist (CTBS) certification program for individuals working in tissue banking. Today, nearly 4,000 individuals have been awarded the CTBS certification.
Since the first reported transplant in the 12th century, tissue transplantation has established a phenomenal record of growth, safety and effectiveness. As modern medicine finds newer and better uses for human tissue to save and improve lives, the numbers of donors, tissue allografts and tissue transplants will continue to increase, as will the AATB’s role in protecting the safety of tissue transplants.