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Cord Blood Registry Supports Family Cord Blood Banking Act
Date:3/26/2009

Allows Use of Tax-Advantaged Dollars to Pay for Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

SAN BRUNO, Calif., March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Cord Blood Registry (CBR), the global leader in the collection and preservation of newborn stem cells from umbilical cord blood, announced its support of legislation introduced yesterday by U.S. Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Wally Herger (R-CA), Artur Davis (D-AL), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) entitled the "Family Cord Blood Banking Act." This important legislation will amend the IRS Code to allow individuals and couples to use tax advantaged dollars to pay for umbilical cord blood banking services through flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) or the medical expenses tax deduction.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090326/SF89756LOGO)

Speaking about the bill's introduction, Rep. Ron Kind, the legislation's chief sponsor and a Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, said, "This legislation supports families that choose this potentially life-saving investment by providing tax incentives for these medical expenses."

Cord blood stem cells have been used in more than 14,000 transplants worldwide during the last 20 years to treat more than 70 diseases in both adults and children and are now showing great promise for regenerative medicine applications, including treatment for type 1 diabetes, brain injury, cerebral palsy and hearing loss. For many families, cord blood banking is the best option for treating and curing disease; however, the cost of family umbilical cord blood banking ($2,000 the first year; $125 per year thereafter) can present a challenge for families on fixed incomes.

Current tax laws arbitrarily restrict how families can use tax advantaged dollars in FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, or through the medical expenses tax deduction. "Families may pay for over-the-counter cough syrups or heartburn pills using these dollars, but not cord blood banking services," said David Zitlow, senior vice president of public affairs and communications at CBR. "These limitations are unfair and even unwise - families who opt to deposit into tax advantaged health accounts should have the discretion to spend those dollars as they see fit on qualified medical expenses."

The legislation is also likely to speed important research using cord blood stem cells. "Research and clinical trials involving cord blood will require more children to have a source of their own cord blood stem cells available for transplant. Consequently, legislation that makes it easier for families to bank cord blood will definitely speed up the time table for life-saving research and will allow scientists to unlock the vast potential of these amazing cells on a much quicker basis," said Dr. David Harris, Cord Blood Registry's Scientific Director and a stem cell researcher at the University of Arizona.

"The Family Cord Blood Banking Act" is supported by the Coalition for Regenerative Stem Cell Medicine, which includes groups like the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, The Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation and a growing number of organizations, researchers, and disease advocacy groups dedicated to raising awareness and lowering financial barriers of access to cord blood stem cells.

About Cord Blood Registry

Cord Blood Registry(R) (CBR(R)) is the world's largest stem cell bank, focused on the collection, processing and storage of newborn stem cells from umbilical cord blood and ensuring their viability for medical use. CBR is the most recommended family cord blood bank by obstetricians and was the first family bank accredited by AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks). The company has been profitable and cash flow positive from operations on a cumulative basis since 1999. To date, CBR has processed and stored cord blood units for more than 260,000 newborns from around the world and has released more client cord blood units for specific therapeutic use than any other family cord blood bank. The company's research and development efforts are focused on helping the world's leading clinical researchers advance regenerative medical therapies using cord blood stem cells as well as enhancing its industry-leading technical innovations for stem cell collection, processing and storage that optimize quality and cell yield. For more information, visit www.CordBlood.com.


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SOURCE Cord Blood Registry
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