A picture of Representative Christopher H. Smith
Christopher S.
Republican NJ 4

About Rep. Christopher
  • STEM Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015

    by Representative Christopher H. Smith

    Posted on 2015-12-16

    submit to reddit

    Read More about STEM Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015

    SMITH of New Jersey asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank, first of all, our distinguished chairman, Chairman Pitts, for his extraordinary work on this legislation.



    I also want to thank Mr. Gene Green of Texas, Mr. Pallone, and, of course, Chairman Upton for his strong support of this reauthorization.

    In the Senate, we have had a tremendous team of Orrin Hatch, Jack Reed, Richard Burr, and Al Franken, who again worked in a very bipartisan way to ensure that this life-affirming, lifesaving legislation not only made it through the Senate, but was beefed up, made stronger.

    People talk about the lack of bipartisanship. I do believe this is one of those bills where we have all come together to try to say-- whether it be bone marrow or adult stem cells in the form of cord blood--that it be made available to as many people as possible in the most usable and efficacious way.

    Mr. Speaker, just let me say--and we know this and I will try not to be too redundant because I think the chairman has explained it--the bill under consideration by the House today does reauthorize through 2020 two critically important and complementary programs, the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and the National Cord Blood Inventory.

    It is especially appropriate during this time of gift-giving to reauthorize these life-giving programs. Americans willing to give the gift of life to others are at the heart of the success of this program.

    In reauthorizing it, we are grateful for the adult donors willing to provide bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells as well as mothers who donate their child's cord blood through public cord blood banks.

    Under the National Cord Blood Inventory program, Mr. Speaker, contracts are awarded to cord blood banks to collect cord blood units donated after mothers give birth.

    Around 4 million births occur in the United States every year. God, in his grace and love, has left a gift that then gives life and helps to cure diseases, including leukemia and other devastating blood- related diseases, left after that birth.

    Again, cord blood and the placenta itself is teeming with stem cells that are, again, highly efficacious in curing and mitigating disease.

    Americans have access to more than 12 million adult volunteer donors and 209,000 cord blood units through Be The Match. The program's Bone Marrow and Cord Blood Coordinating Centers [[Page H9335]] make information about bone marrow and cord blood transplants available to donors and patients. The Office of Patient Advocacy helps support patients and families dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis. The Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database tracks results.

    Again, if you want to know how something is working or not, you track it, and you are constantly recalibrating it in order to make it better.

    Today's bill is the second reauthorization of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, a law that I authored a decade ago, joined by Artur Davis of Alabama, legislation that, again, cleared the Senate with the great help of Senator Orrin Hatch.

    That law built upon the excellent work of our distinguished, late colleague Bill Young of Florida to facilitate bone marrow transplants and created a brand-new national umbilical cord blood donation and transplantation program.

    Dr. Jeffrey Chell, the CEO of NMDP/Be The Match, has noted that, for many diseases, including blood cancers and sickle cell anemia disease, cellular therapy is the best hope for a cure.

    As he told Chairman Pitts and his committee, the patient population rising the most quickly is the elderly population, growing by double digits every year. The reason for that is that the medical conditions for which transplant is often the only cure tend to occur in older populations; diseases like acute leukemia, myelofibrosis, and others.

    Breathtaking scientific breakthroughs have turned medical waste, post-birth placentas, and umbilical cord blood into medical miracles, treating more than 70 diseases--some say as many as 80--including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia.

    Let me just conclude by pointing out that, during consideration of the Senate HELP Committee, language was added to direct relevant agencies to study the state of science using adult stem cells and birthing tissues to develop new therapies for patients.

    Last year I visited Celgene Corporation in Summit, New Jersey, to learn of their extraordinary efforts to use cord blood to heal diabetic foot ulcers and how they turn amniotic membrane, an old placenta, into wound management that now has advanced past stage 3 clinical trials to the approval and regulatory filings stage.

    Again, I want to thank the chief cosponsor, Ms. Matsui; Mr. Jolly; and Mr. Fattah. Again, this is a bipartisan bill.

    Mr. Speaker, the bill under consideration by the House today reauthorizes through 2020 two critically important and complementary programs--the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and National Cord Blood Inventory.

    During this time of gift-giving, it is incredibly timely to reauthorize these life-giving programs. Americans willing to give the gift of life to others are at the heart of the success of this program. In reauthorizing it we are grateful for the adult donors willing to provide bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells, as well as mothers who donate their child's cord blood through public cord blood banks.

    Today, Mr. Speaker, under the National Cord Blood Inventory Program (NCBI), contracts are awarded to cord blood banks to collect cord blood units donated after mothers give birth. These units are then made available through the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program also called the Be the Match Registry. The Program provides a single point of access, enabling those in need of lifesaving transplants to search for a match via an integrated nationwide network of bone marrow donors and cord blood stem cells. Americans have access to more than 12 million adult volunteer donors and 209,000 cord blood units through Be The Match. The Program's Bone Marrow and Cord Blood Coordinating Centers makes information about bone marrow and cord blood transplant available to donors and patients, and the Office of Patient Advocacy helps support patients and families dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis. And the Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database tracks results.

    The leadership of Senators Orrin Hatch, Jack Reed, Richard Burr and Al Franken was invaluable in shepherding this vital bill through the Senate. And special thanks to both Chairmen Upton and Pitts for their outstanding leadership and help on this bill, as well as the strong support by Ranking Members Pallone and Green. I am deeply grateful to original cosponsors Ms. Matsui, Mr. Jolly and Mr. Fattah for their important contributions.

    Today's bill is the second reauthorization of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, a law that I sponsored a decade ago joined by Artur Davis of Alabama; legislation that cleared the Senate with the incomparable help of Senator Orrin Hatch. That law built upon the excellent work of our distinguished late colleague Bill Young of Florida to facilitate bone marrow transplants and created a brand new national umbilical cord blood donation and transplantation program.

    Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, CEO of NMDP/Be the Match has noted that for many diseases including blood cancers and sickle cell disease, cellular therapy is the best hope for a cure. He told Chairman Pitts' subcommittee that the patient population ``rising the most quickly is the elderly population . . . growing by double digits every year, and the reason for that is the medical conditions for which transplant is often the only cure tend to occur in older populations for diseases like acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, myelofibrosis and others.'' Breathtaking scientific breakthroughs have turned medical waste--post birth placentas and umbilical cord blood--into medical miracles treating more than 70 diseases including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia.

    Not only has God in His wisdom and goodness created a placenta and umbilical cord to nurture and protect the precious life of an unborn child, but now we know that another gift awaits us immediately after birth. Something very special is left behind--cord blood that is teeming with lifesaving stem cells.

    In addition to currently treating more than 70 diseases like sickle cell anemia and leukemia, cord blood units from NCBI banks are also made available for research on future therapies. In groundbreaking research, Dr. Kurtzberg of Duke University also testified last June that ``in addition to use in patients with malignant and genetic diseases, cord blood is showing enormous potential for use in cellular therapies and regenerative medicine. Cord blood derived vaccines against viruses and certain types of cancers are currently under development and in early phase clinical trials. Cells, manufactured from cord blood units are being developed to boost recovery of the immune system. Cells regulating autoimmunity (Regulatory T cells) are also in clinical trials. These approaches, which often utilize cord blood banked in family banks, may help patients with Type 1 Diabetes, as well as other diseases.'' Dr. Kurtzberg further testified that she and others are developing uses for cord blood to treat acquired brain disorders. ``Over the past six years'' she said ``we have initiated trials of autologous (the patient's own) cord blood in babies with birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy, hearing loss and autism . . .'' Dr. Kurtzberg has also said ``We've learned that when donor cells are infused into one's body, they go to the brain and help heal the brain. When a child has a brain injury around birth, we can use their own cord blood cells to correct the damage that's occurred.'' Inportantly, during consideration in the Senate HELP Committee, language was added to direct the relevant agencies to study the state of science using adult stem cells and birthing tissues to develop new therapies for patients. Last year, Mr. Speaker, I visited Celgene Corporation of Summit, New Jersey to learn of their extraordinary efforts to use cord blood to heal diabetic foot ulcers and how they've turned amniotic membrane--an old placenta--into wound management that has now advanced past stage 3 clinical trials to the approval and regulatory filings stage.

    H.R. 2820 authorizes $265 million over five years and will ensure that thousands of present-day and future patients benefit from the exciting field of regenerative medicine.

  • submit to reddit
  • Register your constituent account to respond

    Constituent Register