October 06, 2008
Patients with a medical condition that could be treated by a cord blood transplant may benefit from a new program offered by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).
Cord blood offers an additional option to bone marrow in transplant therapy. Through the Related Donor Cord Blood Program, the families of these patients can have the cord blood of a new baby collected and stored at no cost by one of the participating cord blood banks. The cord blood may then be used to treat the affected biological sibling who has the diagnosed disease, which can include leukemia, lymphoma, a sickle-cell disorder, an immune deficiency or a metabolic disease.
“Cord blood collected at the time of birth may offer another treatment option for a sibling diagnosed with various conditions,” said Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, NMDP chief executive officer. “Physicians nationwide acknowledge that cord blood is a source of the rich, blood-forming cells needed by transplant patients.”
Congress recognized the importance of cord blood by passing the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act in 2005. The Act authorized the Related Donor Cord Blood Program, a three-year demonstration project in which participating and qualified cord blood banks collect and store cord blood at no cost to eligible families.
Patients, families and health care professionals can contact case managers at the NMDP Office of Patient Advocacy to determine eligibility for the program and be referred to a participating cord blood bank. To learn more, call 888-999-6743 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
As the nation’s Cord Blood Coordinating Center, the NMDP is committed to helping patients through its network of public cord blood banks and expectant mothers who choose to donate umbilical cord blood for anyone’s benefit. The Related Donor Cord Blood Program helps eligible families benefit from related donation. The NMDP facilitates unrelated marrow and cord blood transplants as a single point of access for a long-standing collaborative network of national and international leading medical facilities in marrow and cord blood transplantation. The NMDP connects patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives. For more information call 800-MARROW-2 or visit www.marrow.org/cord.
About the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. Among other things, HRSA oversees the national systems for organ, tissue and blood stem cell (bone marrow and cord blood) donation and transplantation. HRSA provides national leadership, program resources and services needed to improve access to culturally competent, quality health care.