House allocates $15M to National Cord Blood Inventory program

.- The National Cord Blood Inventory will receive $11 million more than initially planned thanks to an amendment to the current federal spending bill.

The House accepted the amendment, introduced by U.S. Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Artur Davis (D-AL), on Wednesday.

The amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill FY08, which was expected to pass the House yesterday, will now allocate $15 million to the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI).

This brings the NCBI budget to the level allocated in the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which Smith authored. This act created the NCBI and authorized the collection of 150,000 units of cord blood, with a focus on collecting a genetically diverse blood bank that can meet the needs of 90% of all patients.

These units will be made available through an open registry that will link public cord blood banks nationwide, thereby simplifying a physician's search for a blood match for stem cells. The act mandates that any units of cord blood collected and deemed unsuitable for transplantation be donated for additional cord blood stem cell research.

About 8,000 patients have received cord blood treatments for more than 70 diseases, including Leukemia, Sickle Cell Anemia and Hurler disease in the last two years. Smith noted that without the amendment, the cord blood program would be under-funded at a critical time in its development.

Unlike embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of the human embryo and has yet to produce any cures or treatments, cord blood and other adult stem cell research have resulted in clinical treatments.

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