U.S Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources & Services Administration

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HRSA Awards $12 Million to Collect, Maintain Cord Blood Units for National Inventory

Friday, November 3, 2006

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently awarded funds totaling $12 million to the first group of umbilical cord blood banks to begin collections for the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI).

The NCBI will collect and maintain high-quality cord blood units and make them available for transplantation through the newly created C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, whose four major components were awarded contracts announced recently (see news release: HRSA Awards $50 Million to Improve and Promote Transplantation).

“These awards will help to build and maintain a collection of cord blood which could provide lifesaving stem cells to individuals who need them for transplantation,” said HRSA Administrator Betty Duke. “This first year’s collections should help add 10,500 new units of cord blood to the National Cord Blood Inventory.”

The statutory target for the National Cord Blood Inventory is 150,000 new units of high quality cord blood collected from diverse populations, including minority populations, which historically have been the least able to find a suitable matched adult bone marrow donor. The demographics of these initial cord blood collections will be as follows: 19% African-American; 26% Hispanic; 6.5% Asian; 37.5% Caucasian; 10% Multi-Race; 1% Other Minorities.

Bone marrow and blood-forming cells collected from blood (called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell or PBSC) have historically been the primary sources of blood stem cells for patients in need of transplantation to treat various life-threatening disorders such as leukemia. Recently, umbilical cord blood has been shown to contain a high concentration of blood stem cells and thus may offer an additional vital resource for individuals needing life-saving transplantation.

Research indicates that blood stem cells from cord blood may result in successful transplants with a less perfect match in tissue type between the donor and recipient than is needed with adult donors.
Transplants of bone marrow, PBSC, or umbilical cord blood can save the lives of many patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases by replacing a patient's diseased blood cells with healthy cells from a volunteer donor. For more information, see ABCs of Marrow or Blood Cell Donation (not a U.S. Government Web site).

HRSA plans a second cycle of competitive contracts to increase the National Cord Blood Inventory early in FY 2007.

2006 C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program National Cord Blood Inventory Contracts
Institution City State Award
M.D. Anderson Cord Blood Bank Houston Texas
The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank at Duke University Medical Center Durham North Carolina
The Milstein National Cord Blood Program at the New York Blood Center New York New York
StemCyte, Inc. Arcadia California
The University of Colorado Cord Blood Bank Aurora Colorado
The Puget Sound Blood Center Seattle Washington