Representatives Smith and Matsui introduce bipartisan bill to continue to fund lifesaving adult stem cell program
Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to consider bill at hearing next week
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), introduced legislation this week to reauthorize the nation’s adult stem cell treatment and research programs and it is already scheduled for a hearing next week.In a joint statement Smith, Matsui and lead cosponsors David Jolly (R-FL) and Chaka Fattah (D-PA), underscored the need for the legislation and expressed confidence that the bill would move quickly in both the House and Senate and be signed by the President.
H.R. 2820, The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015, reauthorizes key programs responsible for recruiting bone marrow, adult stem cell, and cord blood donations, matching donors and recipients, and linking patients to care. The Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on this legislation next Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 10:15 a.m. The hearing will be webcast here.
“This important bipartisan legislation will save more lives," said Representative Chris Smith the author of the original law, The Stem Cell Therapeutic Research and Reauthorization Act of 2005. "The adult stem cells found in bone marrow and cord blood provide hope not only for curing the diseases and conditions currently known, but they also set the stage for even more cures in the future. Their applicability and use in research for cures for multiple diseases is invaluable--truly a vital life-saving program,”
“This legislation is critical to delivering cures to those diagnosed with a blood cancer or other bone marrow disorders,” said Representative Matsui. “Every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed with one of these fatal diseases. The only cure is a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. Unfortunately, 70 percent of patients diagnosed do not have a suitable donor in their family and must rely upon the national bone marrow and cord blood registry that this bill reauthorizes.”
“Every day, the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and the National Cord Blood Inventory brings lifesaving hope to patients and families in every corner of our nation and around the world,” Representative Jolly said. “Their reauthorization is a top priority of the Congressional Caucus to Cure Blood Cancers and other Blood Disorders, which I co-chair with Congresswoman Matsui, and I’m pleased to join my fellow members in the U.S. House of Representatives in introducing H.R. 2820 to continue these proven programs.”
“Evolving research shows us that bone marrow and cord blood transplants continue to be effective treatments for a number of diseases and disorders, but in order for this to be truly successful, we must ensure that access to the national registry is expanded and there are readily available donor databases for those patients in need. This legislation is critical to ensuring these steps happen and will ultimately save lives as a result,” Representative Fattah said. “This issue has been a longstanding priority for me, and I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill with my colleagues.”
H.R. 2820 reauthorizes the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI), a program that provides grants to public cord blood banks to assist them in collecting a diverse population of donated cord blood units, which are then listed on the National Registry. The NCBI was created by Smith’s 2005 law PL 109-129.
The bill also reauthorizes the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, which houses the National Registry, the Office of Patient Advocacy, and the Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database. The National Registry, known as Be The Match and operated by the National Marrow Donor Program through the Department of Health and Human Services, is an example of how willing Americans are to help their neighbors. During the last 30 years, the registry has grown to include 11 million adult volunteer donors and 193,000 cord blood units donated by moms after the birth of their babies. Through international relationships, Americans now have access to 24.5 million additional potential donors and 622,000 cord blood units worldwide.
Transplants involving bone marrow and cord blood stem cells are often the only hope for patients battling fatal blood cancers like leukemia and can cure sickle cell anemia, one of the most horrific diseases suffered by and affecting 1 out of every 500 African-Americans in America. Clinical trials continue to help doctors learn more about how bone marrow and cord blood can be used to treat Type I diabetes, cerebral palsy, metabolic storage diseases, brain injury and respiratory distress in newborns, spinal cord injury, and cartilage injuries.
Text of the legislation is available here.