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Plan Set to Collect Life-Saving Umbilical Cord Blood
By Grace Merritt
Hoping to collect a wider variety of potentially life-saving stem cells, a state committee wants to launch a public umbilical-cord blood collection program by the end of the year.
Under the plan, Connecticut mothers who have just delivered babies could opt to donate their post-birth umbilical cord and placenta to a public blood bank. The donated cord blood, which is rich with stem cells, could be extracted and then transplanted into someone with a deadly disease, possibly saving that person’s life.
Cord blood transplants have been used to treat bone marrow cancers, such as leukemia and multi myeloma; and genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia.
Similar to a blood drive, donors would not get any direct benefit from the donation except perhaps the satisfaction of helping someone. “It’s an altruistic thing to do,” said Dr. Edward Snyder, professor of lab medicine at Yale University. He is chairman of the Connecticut Cord Blood Collection Program Committee, which is developing the program.
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