Bill Promotes Umbilical Cord Blood Banking
Assembly member Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced legislation (AB 34) that would require the state to create a pilot project at five California hospitals to expand umbilical cord blood collection for use in public blood banks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill also would create an advisory committee to study strategies for increasing public storage of cord blood.
Umbilical cord blood transfusions increasingly have become an alternative to bone marrow transplants in treating leukemia, lymphoma and other disorders of the blood and immune system, according to the Times. The blood contains stem cells that can develop into blood-producing cells that can replace a person's diseased cells.
St. Joseph Hospital in Orange and Citrus Valley Medical Center in West Covina currently are the only two hospitals in California that routinely collect cord blood for public banking.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last year signed a bill that would require the Department of Health Services to create a brochure for pregnant women on umbilical cord banking.
The law relies on private donations to pay for the brochure, and the state has received only one pledge, which was insufficient to fund the effort (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 2/12).