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Recognizing Community Blood Services

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


RECOGNIZING COMMUNITY BLOOD SERVICES-HON. SCOTT GARRETT (Extensions of Remarks - February 26, 2004)

HON. SCOTT GARRETT
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2004

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring both attention and admiration to a program that truly has had lifesaving results.

The Community Blood Services, located in Paramus, NJ, within my fifth Congressional District, has working partnerships with many hospitals in the New York metropolitan area to supply cord blood. This cord blood is used in the treatment of leukemia, breast cancer, lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease, Aplastic Anemia, various other cancers, blood diseases, hereditary/genetic conditions and immune system disorders.

The Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program at Community Blood Services recently and generously announced it will donate one of its umbilical cord units to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ, to assist an uninsured patient in need of a lifesaving transplant.

The patient is suffering from Burkitt's Lymphoma, a non-Hodgkin's disease which is rare in most of the world, but is the most common childhood cancer in Central Africa.

The Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program was inaugurated in 1997. Since then, it has accepted more than 1600 donated cord blood units. To date, 24 of those units have been used for transplants in children throughout the world.
The unit being donated to St. Joseph's will be the twenty-fifth.

Stem cells obtained from placentas and umbilical cords, have been proven to successfully aid in the treatment of many life-threatening diseases. Researchers have found that umbilical cords especially are a rich source of stem cells. This discovery could make the use of embryonic stem cells unnecessary. The cells are easily attainable and can be expanded in vitro, maintained in culture, and induced to differentiate into neural cells. They are a potential source of multipotent stem cells that may serve many therapeutic and biotechnological roles.

In order to identify possible genetic diseases or past illnesses that could jeopardize the patient, when collecting donated cord blood there is a wide-ranging parental history considered. Once the parents agree to the donation, a technician working closely with the delivery team collects the residual blood from the umbilical cord after it has been detached from the baby, ensuring no risk to the mother or child. The cord blood unit is then transferred to the processing laboratory at Community Blood Services, where the red blood cells are removed and the remaining stem cells are frozen in liquid nitrogen for long-term storage.

Let me close by portraying just how proud I am that such a worthwhile organization is located within my community. It is an honor for me today to bring attention to Community Blood Services on the floor of the House. We thank you for everything that you do.

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