BENEFITS OF PUBLIC / PRIVATE UMBILICAL CORD BLOOD BANKS. When an infant is born, blood from the umbilical cord that would otherwise be discarded contains stem cells that can be frozen and stored, and those cells can be used later for stem cell transplants to treat illnesses such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia.
In 2000, about 1,000 infants in the Chicago area had their umbilical cord blood stored in either a public or private bank.
Public and private cord blood banks differ in several ways.
Private banks charged an initial fee and an annual fee to store the blood. With private banks, parents can control how and if the blood will be used, and generally stem cells are only accessed if the child or a family member needs a transplant at a later time.
Public cord blood banks harvest and store umbilical cord blood for free, but the blood can then be accessed by any suitable recipient who is in need of it.
It is likely that the blood "will still be there" if it is ever needed by the family in the future. The public cord blood bank in Chicago has collected more than 2,000 units of cord blood that are tissue-typed and listed in the National Marrow Donor Program database, so that the stem cells are available for use nationwide by any needy recipient with a tissue match [Condor, Chicago Tribune, 10/28; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 30Oct01]
Ethical Provision Of Stem Cells
Bank a New Baby’s Life-Saving Cord Blood – less than 100cc of frozen blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby contains the stem cells that could not only save the life of the baby during his lifetime, but could also save the life of a close family member. [Pioneer Press, 5/23/02]
Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells may be saved in private or public banks.
There are a growing number of cord blood banking and research facilities:
Babies for Life Foundation – www.babiesforlife.org
The Cord Blood Donor Fdn – www.cordblooddonor.org
The Cord Blood Registry – www.cordblood.com
National Marrow Donor Program- www.bonemarrow.org
Viacord – www.viacord.com
Coalition of Americans for Ethical Research – www.stemcellresearch.org
** RNC/Life is not recommending these institutions, but simply making you aware of their existence so that you can do your own research and reach your own conclusions. [This list is provided at this website for your information; as noted above, these institutions are not recommended by this website, but are listed simply to note their existence.]
Information to send to your legislators or other individuals can be found at www.stemcellresearch.org.
CONGRESS PASSES $300 MILLION+ CORD BLOOD STEM CELL BILL – PRES BUSH SIGNS. The Smith-Stupak bill passed the House 24May by 431-1. On 16-17Dec, Congress passed an amended version of H.R. 2520, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act. On 20Dec, President Bush signed the measure into law (Public Law 109-129).
The subsequent House vote approving the amended bill was 413-yes, 0-no. [NCHLA, E-Mail Memo, 21Dec05]
Umbilical cords are a rich, non-controversial source of stem cells. Currently hospitals throw millions of them away each year because the infrastructure required to properly collect and store them is not available.
This Act will increase the number of cord blood units and cord blood stem cells available for treating patients and research will greatly increase. It provides a $265 million for life-saving stem cell therapeutic therapy, cord blood and bone marrow treatment.
The legislation authorizes $79 million for the collection of cord blood stem cells with the goal of reaching a total inventory of 150,000 units, making matched stem cells available to treat more than 90% of patients, with a particular focus on providing genetic diversity.
It also reauthorizes the national bone marrow transplant system at $186 million over the next 5 years and combines both systems – cord blood and bone marrow – under a new program to provide an easy, single access point for information for doctors and patients.
The national program would promote stem cell research by requiring participating cord blood banks to donate units that are not suitable for transplant to researchers who are working on new applications for cord blood stem cells. In addition, for the first time, a nationwide stem cell transplantation system would be established.
nds have been successfully treated with cord blood stem cells for more than 67 diseases including Leukemia and Sickle Cell Anemia.
"Indeed, one of the best kept secrets in America today is that umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult stem cells are curing people of a myriad of terrible conditions and diseases." [LifeSiteNews.com, 19Dec05; DC]