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Capitol Health Call
February 8, 2006

Cord Blood Law Signed

JAMA. 2006;295(6):617. doi:10.1001/jama.295.6.617-c

An inventory of 150 000 high-quality umbilical cord blood units will be created following President Bush's signing of the Stem Cell Therapeutic & Research Act of 2005 (HR 2520) on December 20.

The new law provides $79 million in federal funding to increase the number of cord blood units. The law also reauthorizes the existing national registry for marrow donors, said the National Marrow Donor Program.

According to a statement from the New York Blood Center (NYBC), which led a 3-year campaign for the legislation, cord blood provides a source of blood stem cells equivalent or superior to bone marrow. Unlike bone marrow, cord blood does not have to be a perfect match to a patient's tissue type, making it easier to find matches for patients with various blood diseases, as well as certain immune and metabolic diseases. Another advantage to cord blood is that it is banked, fully tested, and ready to go whenever it is needed, the NYBC said.