From the office of Sen. Nancy Jacobs:
An elementary school child faces a bleak future due to sickle cell anemia…yet his life is saved by a transplant of his older brother’s umbilical cord blood, saved and stored at birth. That happened in a hospital in another state, but using these stem cells to save Maryland patients has been difficult and expensive for families here. Transplants for adults can only be performed in other states like Texas and California. Now the costs will go down and Maryland families may soon be able to have those transplants performed right here. Senator Nancy Jacobs, Minority Leader, sponsored a bill to do that and it’s signed into law today by the Governor.
Cord blood transplants have been very successful for a number of diseases including leukemia and sickle cell anemia. In October Mercy Medical Center began allowing families to donate their baby’s cord blood at birth. Three medical facilities in the state are approved by the National Marrow Donor Program to perform cord blood transplants, but two were not interested in making that treatment available to adults and the third, NIH only treats patients as part of a clinical trial. With this new law private funding and grants will be available to make that a more appealing option for those hospitals.
Senator Jacobs first passed a bill requiring Maryland mothers be told when delivering their babies that they could donate cord blood. This is another major step forward in saving the lives of Marylanders who could be saved by those donations.