Information Available on National Cord Blood Program

March 30, 2009 – On October 1, 2008, the Related Donor Cord Blood Program was launched by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) to help families in which a first degree relative has been diagnosed with a medical condition that might benefit from a cord blood transplant.

It is estimated that as many as 2,500-5,000 families per year might benefit from this Program. Enactment of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 mandated the establishment of a related donation demonstration project, which has been named the Related Donor Cord Blood Program. HRSA is providing oversight for the Program and the NMDP, which serves as the nation’s Cord Blood Coordinating Center, is managing the ongoing administration.

Cord blood offers an additional option to bone marrow in transplant therapy. Through the Related Donor Cord Blood Program, the families of these patients can have the cord blood of a new baby collected and stored at no cost by one of the participating cord blood banks. The cord blood may then be used to treat the affected biological sibling who has the diagnosed disease, which may include thalassemia.

Patients, families and health care professionals can contact case managers at the NMDP Office of Patient Advocacy to determine eligibility for the program and be referred to a participating cord blood bank. To learn more, call 888-999-6743, e-mail, or visit the NMDP website by clicking here.

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