OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: March
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Oklahoma Senate Takes First Step Toward
Cord Blood Bank
The Oklahoma Senate approved an amendment today that
could ultimately give Oklahoma families a way to preserve umbilical
cord blood and the life-saving adult stem cells in it.
Senator Jay Paul Gumm submitted the amendment to Senate Bill 1708,
a measure by Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee on organ
donations. The amendment and the bill were both passed with bipartisan
Gumm’s amendment would direct the state Commissioner of Health
to request information from one or more umbilical cord banks to
determine whether the banks would or could establish a public cord
blood collection operation in Oklahoma. The Commissioner would report
back to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2009 on the best way to develop
“This is a way for us to give Oklahoma families a chance
to bank umbilical cord blood without the huge startup costs,”
said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant. “In a tight budget year,
this will ‘kick start’ the process of giving Oklahomans
affordable access to potentially life-saving procedures.”
Cord blood is often discarded as medical waste in the delivery
room, but can have extraordinary medical applications. Adult stem
cells found in cord blood can treat a variety of ailments, including
cancer, leukemia, blood, and immune disorders.
The lawmaker noted a story broadcast on NBC-TV’s Today Show
Tuesday that told of a two-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who
is now showing fewer signs of the disorder since an infusion of
his own stem cells. The boy’s parents saved his cord blood.
Gumm said every Oklahoma family should have the same opportunity.
“It is very expensive to preserve cord blood,” he concluded.
“By establishing a partnership like we have proposed, we can
give every Oklahoma family the same opportunity this family had.
You cannot put a price tag on that.”
This is the second year Gumm has passed cord blood legislation
out of the Senate. Last year, a cord blood bank bill sailed through
the Senate only to stall in the House of Representatives.
“I believe we have a moral obligation to make a public cord
blood bank available to Oklahoma families,” Gumm said. “There
is no greater responsibility we have than to save lives and improve
life for those we can; making a public cord blood bank available
to Oklahoma families is a huge step in that direction.”
The amended bill will next be considered by a House of Representatives
For more information contact:
Senator Gumm's Office: (405) 521-5586