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House Panel Advances Bipartisan Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Bill

Cord blood and bone marrow treatment saving lives

Contact: Jeff Sagnip, (Rep. Smith), 202-225-3765; Julie Eddy, (Rep. Matsui), 202-225-7163

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Legislation to reauthorize America's bone marrow and cord blood donor registry cleared a major hurdle today, winning quick approval of the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee where it was marked up and reported to the full committee for its consideration.

Introduced just a month ago, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015, H.R. 2820, provides that two collaborative programs that support treatment and therapies derived from adult stem cell lines will not expire at the end of the federal fiscal year. Under the legislation, the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program will be authorized for five years at $20 million annually, while the National Cord Blood Inventory is authorized at $23 million annually for a five-year period. 

Stems cells derived from cord blood and bone marrow have been used successfully to treat thousands of patients with such diseases as leukemia and sickle cell anemia, and genetic disorders. H.R. 2820 will enable more people to receive similar treatments and go on with their lives.

H.R. 2820 is expected to receive similar support and approval at the full Energy and Commerce Committee before the August break. The bill's lead sponsors, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) and Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06) issued the following statements:

    This important bipartisan legislation is needed to expand and extend two great research and therapy programs that are already saving lives," said Congressman Smith, who also authored the original law (The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005—P.L. 109-129) that created the national cord blood program and expanded the C.W. Bill Young cell transplantation program. "Cord blood and bone marrow adult stem cells have applicability and potential that is proven and invaluable. People are being cured each and every day by these therapies—continuing federal support offers a lifeline to thousands more. We look forward to seeing this bill quickly pass the House and Senate and be signed into law."

    "This legislation provides hope to the thousands of Americans who search for a match for bone marrow and cord blood transplants. It also supports critical medical research to improve patient outcomes for the more than 70 diseases and conditions for which transplant is a cure, and helps us find ways to battle additional diseases and conditions," said Congresswoman Matsui, who co-founded the Congressional Caucus to Cure Blood Cancers and Other Blood Disorders with Rep. David Jolly (R-FL). "I understand firsthand how important it is to find the right match. It is the key necessary to unlock the potential cure that a bone marrow or cord blood transplant offers. The legislation we move forward today will give patients and their families hope of access to a curative transplant."