HomePublicationLa CañadaState Funds Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Bill

State Funds Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Bill

When Assembly bill 114 passed the state Senate on Thursday, June 22, it ushered in a five-year extension of funding for the University of California’s Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program (UCBCP). Funding of the lifesaving cancer treatment effort was set to sunset on Jan. 1, 2018.
The state Senate approved Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal, which was inserted into the state budget by the state Senate budget sub-committee, which is chaired by Sen. Anthony Portantino, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who represents the 25th Senate District.
The Cord Blood Collection Program was the first bill authored by Portantino when he entered the state Assembly in 2006.
Cord blood stem cells are left in the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby is born. These rich blood-forming cells are used to treat a variety of blood cancers, such as leukemia, sickle cell disease and lymphoma.
Cord blood is considered an essential alternative for patients who need a bone marrow transplant. Despite its potential benefits, prior to Portantino’s program umbilical cord blood was traditionally discarded as medical waste after a mother gives birth.
Since the UCBCP implementation in 2010, more than 1,200 umbilical cord blood units have been added to the public registry. UC Davis reports 27 collected units under the UCBCP have been released for medical transplant. Cord blood stem cells are statistically 100 times easier to match than bone marrow and only about 1% of the public privately banks their family’s stem cells after birth.
The California program is an effort to capitalize on California’s diverse population and use that diversity to create a cord blood registry that can meet our population’s health needs.
“I am very excited that the legislature extended the funding for this important program in the fiscal 2017-18 budget,” Portantino said in a news release. “The program was the result of the very first bill I introduced on my very first day in office as an Assembly member. I am very pleased to be in a position today to extend the program for an additional five years. This will save a life and it feels pretty good to have played a part in that mission.”


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