Georgia Senator Shafer has introduced a bill that would make that State the first to dedicate funds to a public bank for both cord blood and placental and umbilical cord tissues. This follows a move across the country to begin public, rather than private, cord blood banking for therapy and research.
MD Anderson (MDA), our big cancer research and therapy center in Houston, Texas, has announced that it has received $9 million from the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration to support their Cord Blood Bank. MDA is already collecting units at two hospitals in the area.
The Texas Cord Blood Bank has been growing since a push by then Representative, now State Comptroller, Elizabeth Ames Jones and our Governor Rick Perry led the move to dedicate State funds. The first $1 million dollars in Federal money was matched by State money and again by private donations. In 2005, Governor Perry awarded a grant of an additional $1.2 million in matching funds (meaning that the grant will match each dollar donated from private donors). TCCB is currently collecting cord blood at 4 hospitals, one in North Dallas, one in San Antonio, and at hospitals in two cities in the Rio Grande Valley. (See the video on the Cord Blood Bank at Jones’ campaign website.)
I’m convinced that cord tissues contain the stem cells that will offer all the therapies and hope that we hear about from the advocates of destructive embryonic stem cells. And we’re throwing them away, every day.