New law creates cord blood database
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2005
As an alternative to the controversial stem cell research, the U. S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to create a national cord blood bank that is expected to save thousands of lives.
Last week, President George W. Bush signed the bill to build a nationwide cord blood network and increase spending on research involving the use of cord blood cells.
The cord blood bill will establish a national cord blood registry with hopes of housing 150,000 units to provide for approximately 90 percent of patients waiting for blood.
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The bill will also donate an annual total of $15 million toward the effort and reauthorize the National Bone Marrow Registry.
Alabama congressman Artur Davis and New Jersey congressman Chris Smith first introduced the idea to the House more than two years ago.
“For more than two years, I have worked with Congressman Chris Smith to pass this legislation, which I know will save lives,” Davis said. “This bill is a good Christmas present to many families suffering from blood related diseases.”
Through the program, cord blood cells will be used to combat sickle-cell anemia, leukemia and other blood and bone-related diseases.
According to Davis spokesman Corey Ealons, the process involves taking a material that would otherwise be thrown away to save lives.
“The umbilical cords have life-saving materials in them and the blood there doesn’t have a type,” Ealons said. “This is perfect for folks having difficulty finding a blood match because they wouldn’t have to wait as long to find a match.”
Ealons said both Davis and Smith knew cord blood would be a positive alternative to stem cell, but it was up to congress to “use the genius of man to help heal the people.”
Fortunately the bill passed in the House with a 431-1 vote and has recently become a law.
“We’re just glad the members saw something needed to get done,” Ealons said. “And we’re happy the senate decided to let politics pass to save lives.”
This is the sixth bill Davis has played a role in transforming into a law since his induction in 2002.
“The congressman is pleased with his legislative record thus far,” Ealons said. “He has a very strong record.”
Although the bill has passed, Ealons said it while take a few moths for the system to be established.
“I want to say the nuts and bolts of establishing a network will begin shortly after the new year has begun,” he said. “But we’ve done the hardest part by getting the legislation enacted and getting the funds allocated.”