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Apr. 15, 2005|
The following important and exciting message came to us from the Pro-Life Caucus
in the U.S. House of Representatives. |
Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report called "Cord Blood: Establishing a National Hematopoietic Stem Cell Bank Program."
Many pro-life Members of Congress have been working for years to promote ethically obtained stem cells, like those in cord blood, because they are curing people now and because they are readily available without requiring the killing of human embryos. Today's IOM study recommends a national network of cord blood stem cell banks, and they recommend that any cord blood collected that cannot be used for treatment should be made available for research.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), who has a bill on this topic (HR 596), put out the following statement on April 14, 2005 in advance of the IOM report being made available.
Please use this information to promote cord blood stem cells or in case you receive press calls on the release of the IOM study.
"Creating a national network of cord blood stem cell banks will turn medical waste into medical miracles for thousands of patients who otherwise have no hope to recover from lethal diseases," said Congressman Smith. Cord blood stem cells have already successfully treated 2,000 people for cancers, genetic diseases and other conditions, and recent scientific developments suggest that human stem cell research based on cord blood stem cells may lead to treatments of many other debilitating conditions from Parkinson's to diabetes to heart disease.
"With the release of this report we are now ready to move forward as quickly as possible to establish a national network of cord blood stem cell banks," said Smith. "After a year of study with input from patients, cord blood stem cell banks, and cord blood stem cell transplant physicians, the IOM has endorsed what we have been saying for two years - that we need a network of cord blood stem cell banks, and we need it soon. They also recognized that the federal government has a role in helping those banks increase their life-saving inventory to be able to offer treatment for so many Americans, regardless of race, who suffer from debilitating diseases."
Congressman Smith is the author of the "Cord Blood Stem Cell Act of 2005," HR 596. The bill, which has 37 bipartisan cosponsors, would create a connected national network of public umbilical cord banks and authorize $15 million in federal funds during Fiscal Year 2006 and $30 million in FY '07 to subsidize the collection, processing, testing, freezing and storing of cord blood stem cell units that would then be made available for transplantation treatments.
"This IOM study will provide additional momentum to the passage of the "Cord Blood Stem Cell Act of 2005" so that the cord blood stem cell network can be authorized by Congress and additional funding can be authorized to scale up this network as soon as possible," said Smith. "But this is so urgent that administrative action needs to be taken while Congress moves the bill through the legislative process."
While the IOM report reinforces the provisions in the "Cord Blood Stem Cell Act of 2005", there are additional items in their report that can and should be acted upon right away. One suggestion was that the FDA license cord blood stem cells and another was that The Department of Health and Human Services set up a center to coordinate the networking of cord blood stem cell banks.
"The FDA needs to reflect these medical breakthroughs and immediately license cord blood stem cells so that transplant physicians have the confidence that every cord blood stem cell unit in the national network is of the highest quality," said Smith. "The Department of Health and Human Services also needs to start the process of setting up the cord blood stem cell network structure suggested in this IOM study. Congress has already appropriated the money, and this work can be started today."
"We need to increase the available inventory of cord blood stem cell units to assure opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, to find a suitable match for transplantation. A national inventory of at least 150,000 cord blood stem cell units would allow 80-90% of all American patients in need to find a good to excellent match for transplantation. We should not wait on providing such a valuable resource to those who need this treatment," concluded Smith.
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