Congress passes legislation that could help blood cell transplants

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) announced recently its appreciation to Congress for passing legislation on a program that could dramatically help life-saving blood cell transplants.

A national umbilical cord blood program was passed into legislation by Congress allowing federal funding to collect and store cord blood for life-saving blood cell transplants. This new legislation also reauthorizes the marrow donor program.

According to Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., of the NMDP, “The Center for Cord Blood at the NMDP has made tremendous strides in working with cord blood banks to build an inventory of more than 45,000 cord blood units—that can help eliminate health disparities.”

The national funding given to the program will help cover the cost of not only the field of blood cell and marrow transplants, but will also help fund any research efforts on the topic.

With $79 million from federal funding, the bill hopes to provide an additional 150,000 cord blood units available for public matches. The bill will also allow the physicians full access to adult volunteer donors and cord blood units.

The larger database of diverse types of cord blood units will allow the transplant physicians to give their patients more options and effectively and quickly deliver the cord blood to the transplant patient, increasing their chances of surviving the disease.

Patients with blood diseases, such as leukemia and other cancers, will benefit the most from the larger amount and diversity of the cord blood units. The increased number in cord blood will put NMDP one step closer to helping every patient in need.

NMDP and their Center for Core Blood are one of the largest providers of umbilical cord blood units that help patients in need of a life-saving transplant. At this time, they manage the largest listing of cord blood units in the United States.

For more info about the Center for Cord Blood at the NMDP, contact their help desk at 612/627-8123 or visit

From the Jan.18-24m 2006, issue

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