Washington, DC – The following is a statement by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on the passage of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, legislation that will allow the National Marrow Donor Program to continue to facilitate bone marrow transplants and will promote the use of umbilical cord blood to treat diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia.
“Today the United States Congress took an important step when it passed the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act. I applaud the Congress for taking this action. We simply must do everything we can and use all the science at our disposal to help all Americans who suffer from diseases that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities.
“However, Congress is poised to cut over half of the funding for the National Cord Blood Registry in the Labor, HHS, and Education spending bill. The passage of this legislation will be meaningless if Congress does not commit to funding these programs.
“While bone marrow and cord blood transplants are providing effective treatments and cures to a host of devastating and deadly diseases, there are countless other conditions, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and various forms of brain and spinal cord disorders for which there is little hope for those afflicted. That is why the Senate must continue to push for the swift consideration of the House-passed embryonic stem cell research bill (H.R. 810) which could open the door to research that could unlock the mystery behind many of these devastating diseases.”