March 11, 2008
Finding a potentially life-saving donor for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and many other diseases is faster and more efficient than ever before.
On March 11, the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) will demonstrate to members of Congress and their staff its enhanced technology that will simplify and accelerate the search process for patients in need of an adult marrow or cord blood transplant. This unique, first-hand experience will examine the mechanics of how a match is made, as well as perspectives of the search process from patients, physicians and donors.
“Over the past 20 years, the NMDP has advanced the search process to better identify adult donors and cord blood units with the highest potential match for patients,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., NMDP chief executive officer. “Our advanced matching algorithm, along with the new search management interface, allows transplant physicians to search the NMDP Registry more quickly and efficiently.
Members of Congress will hear presentations from:
Dr. Jeffrey Chell, Chief Executive Officer, National Marrow Donor Program
Karen Dodson, Vice President of Search and TransplantationServices, National Marrow Donor Program
Dr. Esperanza B. Papadopoulos, Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantation Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, Chief, Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Director, Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, Duke University
Each year, more than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases that can only be cured with a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor. The NMDP operates the national Registry, which allows patients and physicians to locate matching cord blood units, as well as adult donors for marrow and peripheral blood stem cells, when a family donor is not available. In the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, Congress demonstrated broad support for expanding access to these life-saving treatments.
In educating members of Congress and their staff, the NMDP will also emphasize that even with the advancements made in matching and decreasing search times, many more patients could benefit from transplant through adding more diverse cord blood units and adult donors to the national Registry.
The NMDP remains committed to supporting the C. W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and the National Cord Blood Inventory.
“We recognize that more work needs to be done so that all patients have access to treatment,” said Chell. “The NMDP will continue to work with Congress to ensure adequate resources are available to help all patients receive the potentially life-saving treatment they need.”