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

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HRSA Awards $50 Million to Improve and Promote Transplantation

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently awarded funds totaling almost $50 million to support a variety of activities meant to improve and encourage organ, tissue, bone marrow, cord blood and circulating blood stem cell donations.

“These awards will help sustain our recent achievements in raising donation to new heights,” said HRSA Administrator Betty Duke. “The number of monthly donors reached 733 this past May, surpassing 700 monthly donors for the first time. This is an incredible gain from just a year ago, when a new monthly record of 619 donors was set in June 2005.”

About $38 million of the $50 million total were awarded as contracts under the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) in Minneapolis, Minn. The initial two-year contracts will support the establishment and operation of the:

  • Bone Marrow Coordinating Center, which received $34,910,015 to aid unrelated-donor blood stem cell transplants that use cells from adult volunteer donors and to recruit additional adults as volunteer potential donors;

  • National Cord Blood Coordinating Center, which received $1,850,985 to help unrelated-donor blood stem cell transplants that use cells from umbilical cord blood; and the

  • Office of Patient Advocacy/Single Point of Access, which received $1,226,354 to provide patient advocacy and case management services to patients in need of unrelated-donor blood stem cell transplants. The office also will provide a single point of access through which health care professionals and patients can search electronically for the best available cells for transplant from adult marrow donors and cord blood units.

HRSA also announced a contract worth $6,180,029 to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Those funds will be used to collect and analyze standardized data on the outcomes of blood stem cell transplants that use cells from bone marrow or cord blood and related therapies.

Transplants of bone marrow, blood-forming cells collected from blood (called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell or PBSC), and umbilical cord blood can save the lives of many patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.  Transplants (http://www.marrow.org/DONOR/ABCs/index.html) replace a patient's unhealthy blood cells with healthy cells from a volunteer donor.

HRSA also announced 11 awards worth $5.2 million to encourage organ and tissue donation through four separate grant programs.

  • Three awards will help teams of organ procurement organizations and hospitals from the same donation service area coordinate and implement strategies to increase donation. The awards went to Hartford (Conn.) Hospital, $54,281; St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio, $63,382; and LifeNet of Virginia Beach, Va., $57,826.

  • Six awards support social and behavioral interventions to enhance understanding of ways to encourage members of the public to become donors. The awards went to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., $319,021; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, $298,093; New York Center for Liver Transplantation Inc. in East Greenbush, $264,924; Lifeline of Ohio Organ Procurement in Columbus, $185,876; South Dakota Lions Eye Bank in Sioux Falls, $179,302; and LifeNet in Virginia Beach, $77,147.

  • The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services received a grant of $175,725 to help states without a donor registry develop and implement an electronic system to obtain and store pledges of residents to become donors. Learn more about state donor registries (http://newsroom.hrsa.gov/newssummary/march2006.htm#OrganDonation).

  • And the Regents of the University of Michigan received a $3.5 million grant to reimburse travel and subsistence expenses incurred by individuals making living donations.