As Medical Successes Rise, Laws Increase Funding And Promote Public Awareness
New York – June 10, 2013 – As researchers continue to discover groundbreaking medical therapies using stem cells from umbilical cord blood, Federal and State governments in the United States are ramping up their efforts to support the cord blood industry and educate parents-to-be about banking their babies’ stem cells. The most recent development happened on May 16th when the New York State Senate introduced a bill to create a public umbilical cord blood banking program within the New York State Department of Health to promote public awareness of the potential benefits of public cord blood banking.
Over the past 25 years, the use of stem cells in medical therapies has transformed from a largely experimental approach, only used as a last effort, into a standard treatment for dozens of diseases and conditions. Currently, cord blood stem cells have been successfully used in the treatment of over 80 rare blood diseases and as a substitute for bone marrow transplants. Recently, umbilical cord blood has edged ahead of bone marrow as a source of hematopoietic stem cell transplants worldwide. According to Bioinformant Worldwide, the global leader in tracking stem cell industry data, as of 2012, More than 26% of the estimated 68,400 hematopoietic stem cell transplants worldwide in 2012 were performed using stem cells from cord blood while 25% were performed with stem cells from bone marrow.
The progress in the number of diseases treated using cord blood stem cells is the result of a massive global research effort by leading scientists who are pursuing cutting-edge stem cell therapies with financial support from not only the cord blood banking industry, but also various governments and medical institutions. BioInformant Worldwide stated that grants in the United States for cord blood research have increased from 122 in 2008 to 167 in 2012, a near 40% increase in just five years. This trend appears to be one that will continue. In 2010, the United States Congress reauthorized theStem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, increasing the funding available for cord blood stem cell research and authorizing an additional five years of support for cord blood stem cell research and public cord blood banking.
Financial support for research is only part of the nationwide effort to bring the potential benefits of cord blood banking to more families. If the new bill becomes law, New York will be joining a growing list of states that are taking unprecedented steps to educate parents-to-be about banking stem cells from their babies’ cord blood. Today, according to the Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, 23 states have legislation in place that requires or encourages physicians to discuss the benefits of both private and public cord blood banking with parents-to-be as a part of the preparation for childbirth.
Many of the states with such legislation have public cord blood banking programs whereby parents can donate their babies’ stem cells to a public cord blood bank. Stem cells that are donated to a public cord blood bank are then available to people who need transplants and meet the medical requirements to receive them. More importantly, many of these states have programs set up to support both public and private cord blood banking efforts. In California, for example, birth certificate copies now cost an additional $2 each, with the proceeds directly benefitting a cord blood banking program at The University of California at Davis.
Learn more about Cord Blood Banking in your state!