OFFICE OF SENATOR JAY PAUL GUMM
Atoka, Bryan, Coal, Johnston & Marshall Counties
For Immediate Release: May 13, 2008
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Cord Blood Bank Becomes
Gumm Says Measure “An Investment in Life”
A long struggle came to a positive end when Gov. Brad Henry signed
House Bill 3060, a measure creating a public umbilical cord blood
bank in Oklahoma.
The new law, by Senator Jay
Paul Gumm and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, establishes the public
cord blood bank, eventually giving every Oklahoma family the ability
to donate umbilical cord blood. The pair of lawmakers has sponsored
the measure for several years, finally securing passage over a number
of obstacles this year.
“A cord blood bank will make possible the next great steps
forward in medical care,” said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant.
“This new law eventually will give every Oklahoma family a
chance to protect and save lives. Donors also will expand the genetic
diversity in existing cord blood banks, which will open the doors
to even more families facing life-threatening illnesses.”
The bill directs the state Health Department to create the cord
blood bank, subject to private and public funding. Banking would
be free to Oklahoma families choosing to use the bank. Also, the
bill requires doctors and hospitals treating pregnant women to educate
their patients about cord blood banking, storage and usage.
The law also directs the state Commissioner of Health to investigate
whether partnering with existing public cord blood banks would be
more cost effective. The health commissioner is required to report
findings to the Legislature before the 2009 session begins.
Currently, the only option to store cord blood Oklahoma families
have is to contract with private umbilical cord blood banks. That
cost is several thousands of dollars upfront, and hundreds annually
in storage costs. The costs, Gumm said, are cost prohibitive for
most young families starting out with a new baby.
Umbilical cord blood – now most often discarded as medical
waste – is rich in adult stem cells, which can be used to
treat a variety of illnesses. Among the maladies currently being
treated with cord blood therapy are many cancers, leukemia, and
several immune disorders; researchers say the list of maladies treatable
with cord blood will only expand.
Creation of the Oklahoma cord blood bank comes at an exciting time
of research, Gumm said. “Recently, the many network morning
shows reported the story of a two-year-old boy with cerebral palsy,”
“After an infusion of his own stem cells during a clinical
trial at Duke University, he is now showing fewer signs of the disorder;
his parents had banked his umbilical cord blood. With enactment
of HB 3060, the means is now in place to allow Oklahoma families
the same opportunity.”
Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, said the creation of a
cord blank bank could especially benefit ethnic groups that have
fewer cord blood samples banked, making genetic matches more difficult.
“This bill will save lives,” she said. “A cord
blood bank will allow Oklahoma to lead the way in ethical stem-cell
research, collecting adult stem cells from the creation of life,
rather than the destruction of life.”
Gumm said passage of the measure represents an investment in life.
“I believe history will show this will be one of the most
important bills ever passed by the Oklahoma Legislature, he concluded.
“This plan will leave a legacy of better health in Oklahoma,
for the current generation and those yet unborn.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm's Office: (405) 521-5586