Representative T. R. Rowe (R-123) today applauded the House passage of legislation which will make the Connecticut Cord Blood Bank a reality.
For the past few years there have been legislative attempt to require doctors to inform pregnant women about their cord blood banking options. This year legislation has been put forward making a public cord blood bank program available to families in Connecticut. Upon approval this would be the first public cord blood bank in the state.
“Umbilical cord blood and stem cells have extraordinary promise for therapeutic uses and even medical breakthroughs, unlike the controversial embryonic stem cells, which despite billions of dollars in research have not borne any fruit,” said Representative Rowe, a co-sponsor of the bill. “This measure will allow a far greater likelihood of someone in need of a stem cell transplant procedure finding the proper match, and getting a treatment that could save their life.”
Rowe said that the key to obtaining that treatment is obtaining a proper donor match for stem cell transplant. This match is made much more likely through a large pool of resources – possibly the difference between life and death.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in a baby’s umbilical cord after the cord has been cut. Doctors have discovered that cord blood, like bone marrow, is a rich source of unique stem cells that can be used in medical treatments. Stem cells are the body’s “master” cells and can become any type of cell in the human body.
Under provisions of the legislation the umbilical cord blood collection program must promote the collection of umbilical cord blood units from genetically diverse donors for public use. The collection board may raise funds and apply for and accept any public or private grant money. Based on the funding available, the board must contract with entities that have expertise in collecting and transporting umbilical cord blood units to establish or designate at least two collection centers in the state. The board, subject to appropriations, must engage in public education and marketing activities concerning cord blood.
Cord blood banking is an opportunity for parents to collect and preserve the stem cells from their baby’s umbilical cord blood for potential medical uses. A newborn child’s umbilical cord is rich with the unique cells.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 142-0, and passed the Senate earlier this month. The bill will now head to the Governor for his signature. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight tonight.