"We commend the IOM for calling for the inclusion of many important elements in a national program such as uniform standards and practices, FDA licensure of cords, protection of patient rights, and use of a single database to collect outcomes," Chell added. "But we should be careful about diverting scarce public resources away from the important task of increasing the inventory of cords, or risk slowing patient access to this vital, life-saving resource of cord blood."
The NMDP is governed by an independent board with representation from cord blood banks, transplant centers, transplant medicine and patient advocacy organizations. In addition to the centralized database that allows transplant coordinators to search all compatible HPC sources (including cord blood, marrow and adult peripheral blood) simultaneously, the NMDP collects outcomes data from all cord blood transplants facilitated in its network. This important data is used to further advance transplantation through various research initiatives. To support the quality assurance activities at the member cord blood banks, the NMDP provides outcomes data directly.
The IOM recommendations, issued today in a report, "Cord Blood: Establishing a National Hematopoietic Stem Cell Bank Program," come in response to a 2004 request by Congress, which asked the IOM to provide an assessment of existing cord blood programs and inventories and to make recommendations to enhance the structure, function and utility of such programs.
Contact: Pat Thompson
National Marrow Donor Program