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Cord Blood Registry Supports Introduction of the Cord Blood Education and Awareness Act of 2009
Date:4/29/2009

Landmark Bill to Advance Education and Informed Consent Recommendations Established by the Institutes of Medicine

SAN BRUNO, Calif., April 29 /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 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) entitled the "Cord Blood Education and Awareness Act of 2009." If passed, this ground-breaking legislation will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and disseminate public education materials that will educate patients and physicians on the value of umbilical cord blood stem cells and set standards for patients to document the choice they've made about banking their newborn's cord blood stem cells. The Institutes of Medicine introduced recommendations on informed choice about cord blood banking in a comprehensive study submitted to Congress in 2004.

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"Throughout her distinguished career, Congresswoman Speier has been a champion for women's and children's health issues, and we are pleased to see a legislator of her stature and experience recognize the need for public education on the value of newborn stem cells," said David Zitlow, senior vice president of public affairs for CBR. "As a California legislator she introduced the Maternal Child & Health Advancement Act, which became one of the first state laws to focus attention on the importance of educating every expectant parent about cord blood stem cells."

Umbilical cord blood is a rich and diverse source of newborn stem cells that can be collected without ethical concerns in a ten minute window immediately after birth. Newborn stem cells have been used for during the last 20 years to treat life-threatening cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as immune system deficiencies and blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia.

Additionally, this population of stem cells is increasingly a sought-after source for clinical research in regenerative medicine because these cells have demonstrated embryonic-like capabilities to proliferate and develop into all of the major cell types in the body -- without tumor or immune response issues. Regenerative therapies using newborn stem cells from cord blood are being evaluated for conditions including traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, stroke, type 1 diabetes, heart disorders and hearing loss.

In addition to the creation of a patient education campaign, Rep. Speier's legislation provides for the development of materials to focus on educating maternal health care providers. A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Health found that more than 90 percent of patients with some familiarity about cord blood banking had an expectation that their obstetricians would be able to provide information on this subject.

Further, the Cord Blood Education and Empowerment Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a standardized document and process for health care professionals to obtain written acknowledgement from patients - also called informed consent -that confirms they have received education on cord blood banking options and records their decision. Because the availability of these cells may have implications for future health treatment decisions, this provision will provide additional support for parents to make a more informed decision.

"With this legislation, Rep. Speier has set forth a national health policy framework that will help save more lives," said Zitlow. "By empowering physicians and patients with new resources, this legislation will help maximize access to and availability of newborn stem cells for patient care and medical research."

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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