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J.P. McCarthy Fund Grants $250,000 to Karmanos Cancer Institute
Date:7/30/2008

Increasing the Awareness and Capacity of Life-Saving Cord Blood

DETROIT, July 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announced that it received a $250,000 multi-year grant from the J.P. McCarthy Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to benefit its J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank. The grant, which will be given in $50,000 increments over five years, will help enhance the collection area and expand the capacity to help people in need of cord stem cell transplants - non-embryonic stem cells that are extracted from the umbilical cord and placenta following the birth of a child.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071106/KARMANOSCANCERINSTITUTELOGO)

The J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at the Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of two public cord blood banks in Michigan and the only center in the state with the National Marrow Donor program registry designation that requires compliance with the highest standards in cord blood banking.

"When my husband was diagnosed with Myelodyoplastic Syndrome (MDS) in 1995, the disease that took his life, there was a very limited bone marrow donor base and limited resources to help MDS patients and their families," said Judy McCarthy.

"The J.P. McCarthy Fund is committed to help educate the public and improve research to the cause and treatment of MDS, as well as expand the bone marrow and stem cell donor base. We commend the Karmanos Cancer Institute for its quality work in banking cord blood," added McCarthy.

According to the National Marrow Donor program, on any given day, there are more than 6,000 men, women and children in search of a life-saving donor match. Diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell and other life-threatening diseases can be treated by bone marrow or cord blood transplant. Although many try to find a match through their siblings, 70 percent of the time there isn't a match.

The need for ethnic and minority stem cells also continues to increase. The J. P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at Karmanos currently has the highest percentage of African-American units banked within the National Marrow Donor Registry.

The cord blood and placenta, often discarded as medical waste, are rich in life-giving cells needed to fight diseases. Unlike donated marrow, the cord blood unit does not have to match the patient's tissue type as closely as donated marrow does. Therefore, more patients are able to get stem cell transplants than ever before.

"We are very grateful for the support of the J.P. McCarthy Fund which will help us build our inventory of quality cord blood units," said Karmanos Cancer Institute President and CEO John C. Ruckdeschel, M.D. "Utilizing cord blood for stem cell transplants will ultimately help thousands of people fight life-threatening diseases. We hope more expecting parents will decide to donate cord blood and help save lives."

Hospitals that are partnering with Karmanos to collect the cord blood include Providence Hospital, St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, and the ProMedica Health System in Toledo. Once the parent(s) make the decision to donate the cord blood, they pre-register during the pregnancy, sign a consent form and do a simple blood test prior to the delivery of the child to make sure there are no infectious diseases. After the birth of the child, the collection of cord blood is taken from the umbilical cord and the placenta. The cord blood is tested and processed, and only that which meets the criteria is frozen and stored in the J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at Karmanos. This does not interfere with the birthing process. All information is kept confidential. What was once discarded as medical waste has the potential to help save lives.

The J.P. McCarthy Fund was instrumental in developing the cord stem cell bank with a gift of $1 million, named in honor and in memory of Mr. McCarthy, the legendary former WJR radio personality. The center has been collecting and preserving umbilical cord blood units since 2001. To date, more than 1,200 units are banked in its inventory. The center is a network bank in the National Marrow Donor Program, making the banked cord blood available for any person in the world who is in need of a stem cell transplant.

For more information about the J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank, call 1-800-KARMANOS or visit http://www.karmanos.org/cordblood.

About The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations committed to the future of southeast Michigan. The Foundation works to improve the region's quality of life by connecting those who care with causes that matter. The Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs. The Foundation has assets of more than $670 million and, since its inception, has distributed more than $311 million through more than 30,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit http://www.cfsem.org.

About The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Located in mid-town Detroit, MI, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for more than 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, the Karmanos Cancer Institute is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 faculty members, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, the Institute strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. John C. Ruckdeschel, M.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to http://www.karmanos.org.


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SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute
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