Governor signs bill boosting cord blood research
Promise of adult stem cells much greater than embryonic
August 9, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Promoting a proven form of stem cell research, Gov. Matt Blunt has signed into law Senate Bill 323, which expands existing umbilical cord banks and establishes new ones throughout the state.
“The use of umbilical cord blood in medical research offers an important and powerful alternative to embryonic stem cell research that shows far less promise,” said state Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit. Bartle, a deacon at First Baptist Church, Raytown, drafted the legislation and advanced it through the Missouri General Assembly.
The new law, which will be in effect Aug. 28, creates eligibility criteria under which the state’s Life Sciences Research Board can award grants to umbilical cord blood banks. Conditions include the ability and experience of a grant applicant and the level of commitment to cord blood bank expansion the applicant is willing to meet after a grant contract expires.
The program is subject to future appropriations by the Legislature.
Bartle is excited about the new law. By signing it, the governor has sent a signal that this type of research is important, the senator said.
“Umbilical cord blood, preserved after a new baby is born, is a non-controversial source of stem cells, which are considered to be the building blocks of life,” Bartle said. “Non-controversial adult stem cells can be used in the treatment of all kinds of diseases including more than 60 different cancers, genetic diseases, blood disorders and immune deficiencies, and more potentially life-saving applications are constantly being developed.”
On July 6, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town & Country, toured the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital to review the facility’s work on cord blood research. The St. Louis Cord Blood Bank, founded in 1996 by Donna Wall, is the second-largest independent cord blood bank in the world. Akin, like Bartle, has expressed his support for this type of research.
“My most fervent hope,” Bartle told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “is that the momentum that is behind adult stem cell research will basically leave embryonic stem cell research in the rear-view mirror.”