October 06, 2010
The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) applauds Congress on its bipartisan, bicameral passage of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2010. The legislation reauthorizes the C.W. Bill Young Transplantation Program (Program) and the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI). The organization especially thanks sponsors who worked tirelessly to ensure its passage before the end of the fiscal year: representatives C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), and senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jack Reed (D-RI), John Ensign (R-NV) and Al Franken (D-MN).
Both programs have enjoyed strong bipartisan support over the years, which continued during the reauthorization process. The Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent on Sept. 28, and the House passed the bill by voice vote yesterday.
“We are extremely grateful to Congress and our supporters for the passage of this bipartisan and fiscally responsible legislation,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the NMDP, which is the federal contractor for the program. “By reauthorizing these programs, Congress has maintained its commitment to saving lives and supporting cellular transplantation.”
Congress has set the overall funding levels again at $53 million, ensuring the Program continues to add more adult donors and cord blood units to the national registry, publicly known as the Be The Match Registry®. These funds are particularly helpful to increase recruitment efforts among racial and ethnic minorities who are less likely to find a matching donor.
The legislation also maintains:
A single point of access that allows patients and their physicians access to potential adult marrow donors and cord blood units;
- A commitment to collect at least 150,000 cord blood units for the NCBI; and
- Research efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of marrow transplantation and patient outcomes.
The bill seeks to increase recruitment efforts for cord blood collection by establishing a General Accounting Office (GAO) review of studies, demonstration programs and outreach efforts. This will help increase cord blood unit donation and collection for the NCBI, as well as ensure a high-quality and genetically diverse inventory of cord blood units.
It is anticipated that President Obama will sign the legislation into law in the near future. The NMDP looks forward to working with Congress to ensure the Program’s continued success.
About the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)
As a leader in the field of unrelated marrow and umbilical cord blood transplantation, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is dedicated to ensuring all patients who need a transplant receive access to this potentially life-saving treatment. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the nonprofit organization has been entrusted by the federal government through the C.W. Bill Young Transplantation Program to operate the national registry, publicly known as the Be The Match Registry, which provides a single point of access for transplant centers and patients to marrow donors and cord blood units. The organization also facilitates transplants worldwide; supports a global network of hospitals, blood centers, public cord blood banks, laboratories and recruitment centers; conducts research; and provides education and support to patients, donors and health care professionals. The NMDP has facilitated more than 40,000 transplants since operation began in 1987. For more information, visit www.marrow.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.