Legislation reauthorizing the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act has been overwhelmingly passed by both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill, now on its way to the President’s desk, authorizes $23 million per year for the next five years for cord blood inventory growth and diversity.
The Cord Blood Association, together with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), worked tirelessly with members of Congress this year and testified in support of the legislation that totals $115 million for five years for the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI) and $150 million in that same period for blood and marrow transplant programs through the C.W. Bill Young Transplantation Program.
“Reauthorization of this significant, life-saving bill will advance the important work of the bone marrow and cord blood programs to promote new discoveries within the fields of cellular therapy and regenerative medicine,” said Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah), lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “Enacting this bill will also reaffirm the commitment that Congress made three decades ago to help patients with blood cancers and other life-threatening diseases by increasing access to life-saving transplants.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), lead sponsor of the House version of the bill, said, “It remains one of the best kept secrets in America that umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult stem cells in general are curing people of a myriad of terrible conditions and diseases in adults as well as children. Cord blood, what was once seen as medical waste, is now making miracles.”
Through international relationships with other registries, physicians and patients worldwide have access to 24.5 million potential donors and 622,000 cord blood units.