Cost of Stem Cell-Based Tissue-Engineered Airway Transplants in the United Kingdom: Case Series

Tissue Eng Part A. 2016 Feb;22(3-4):208-13. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2015.0283. Epub 2015 Dec 24.


Stem cell-based tissue-engineered tracheas are at an early stage in their product development cycle. Tens of patients have been treated worldwide in predominantly compassionate use settings, demonstrating significant promise. This potentially life-saving treatment is complex, and the cost and its implications for such treatments are yet to be fully understood. The costs are compounded by varying strategies for graft preparation and transplant, resulting in differing clinical and laboratory costs from different research groups. In this study, we present a detailed breakdown of the clinical and manufacturing costs for three of the United Kingdom (UK) patients treated with such transplants. All three patients were treated under Compassionate Use legislation, within the UK National Health Service (NHS) hospital setting. The total costs for the three UK patients treated ranged from $174,420 to $740,500. All three patients were in a state of poor health at time of treatment and had a number of complexities in addition to the restricted airway. This is the first time a cost analysis has been made for a tissue-engineered organ and provides a benchmark for future studies, as well as comparative data for use in reimbursement considerations.

Trial registration: NCT01977911.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bioprosthesis / economics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tissue Engineering / economics*
  • Trachea*
  • United Kingdom

Associated data