Washington, D.C. --
August 27, 2009
The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) mourns the loss of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy. Sen. Kennedy worked tirelessly to improve access and delivery of health care to patients nationwide. He was a staunch supporter of this cause, which is consistent with the mission of the NMDP to ensure that all patients in need of marrow and cord blood transplants have access to this potentially life-saving treatment.
"Senator Kennedy will be greatly missed by all those who have benefited from his leadership on health care issues in the United States Senate," said Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, CEO of the NMDP. "His dedication and commitment will continue to impact the lives of future patients in need of an unrelated marrow or cord blood transplant."
Kennedy was the ranking member of the Senate Health Education and Labor Committee when it authorized the Stem Cell Research and Therapeutics Act of 2005, the law establishing the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (Program), operated by the NMDP. Through the Program, the NMDP facilitates unrelated marrow and cord blood transplants as a single point of access for patients, doctors and researchers. Doctors can contact the NMDP to search its registry of potential adult marrow donors and cord blood units (publicly known as the Be The Match RegistrySM) on behalf of their patients who may have one of more than 70 diseases that can be treated by transplantation. The registry currently provides access to more than 7 million potential adult marrow donors and 100,000 cord blood units. In its 21 years of operation, the NMDP has facilitated more than 35,000 transplants to give patients a second chance at life.
Most recently, Kennedy served as the chairman of the Senate Health Education and Labor Committee, and as such would have played a leading role in the 2010 reauthorization of the Stem Cell Research and Therapeutics Act. Kennedy was a champion of cancer causes and health care and was a strong advocate for health care institutions in the state of Massachusetts, including NMDP-affiliated transplant centers and collection sites for cord blood.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Victoria, and his three children, Kara Kennedy, Edward Kennedy Jr. and Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, as well as the entire Kennedy family and friends.