Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

HJR 584: Joint Subcommittee Studying Medical, Ethical, and Scientific Issues Relating to Stem Cell Research

August 27, 2007

The Joint Subcommittee Studying Medical, Ethical, and Scientific Issues Relating to Stem Cell Research held its first meeting of the interim on August 27, 2007, with Delegate Robert G. Marshall as chair.

HJR 584 continued the study to monitor progress of the Virginia Cord Blood Bank Initiative to examine various ways the bank could be utilized, such as treating victims of a terrorist attack, and continue to review new and emerging issues in stem cell research and treatment.

Virginia Cord Blood Bank Initiative
Dr. David Suttle, Virginia Department of Health, reported that the Virginia Cord Blood Bank Initiative Consortium was currently in the process of incorporating as a nonprofit organization. The Attorney General will select an attorney to assist with the incorporation process. Dr. Suttle explained the progress thus far in researching options for getting a cord blood bank up and running.

There was discussion on Inova Fairfax Hospital's participation in collecting cord blood for New York Cord Blood Bank, which is part of the National Marrow Donor Program. Collection by Inova Fairfax Hospital was solicited because of the Northern Virginia’s diverse ethnicity. Specialists from New York Cord Blood Bank trained the Inova staff in collection, as well as the initial processing necessary to preserve the cord blood, which is transported to New York by courier.

Inova Fairfax Hospital is very interested in working with the Virginia Department of Health to begin collecting for a cord blood bank in the Commonwealth. Because the courier service is not run on weekends, cord blood is only collected Sunday through Thursday for the New York facility. Inova representatives stated that cord blood could be collected on Fridays and Saturdays for a Virginia cord blood bank.

Dr. Suttle noted that Virginia has the capacity to make cord blood collection worthwhile and stated that the Virginia Cord Blood Bank Initiative Consortium was looking at two start up approaches. A Virginia cord blood bank could work with an existing cord blood bank like the one at Duke University Hospital, which has a working process and operates a cord blood storage facility. Duke University Hospital has been very helpful in Virginia's efforts to begin a bank. Partnership with a working center is the fastest way to start collecting cord blood.

The Virginia Cord Blood Bank Initiative Consortium also is in the process of obtaining grants to provide the funding for Virginia to begin its own processing and storage facility. Dr. Suttle explained that in order to receive federal funding, enabling legislation would have to be amended striking the phrase "for Virginians" and allowing cord blood to be available to any match, worldwide, on a first-come, first-served basis. The subcommittee unanimously agreed to support such legislation.

The members agreed to the chairman's suggestion that the joint subcommittee ask the Virginia Congressional Delegation for its help in passing legislation that would simplify the burdensome informed consent process required by the FDA, which is a major factor in the low donation of cord blood.

Next Meeting
The chairman announced that Delegates Moran and Shuler, who carried bills relating to stem cell research last session, would be invited to testify before the joint subcommittee at its second and final meeting of the 2007 interim.

The Hon. Robert G. Marshall

For information, contact:
Jessica Eades, Sarah Stanton, DLS Staff


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

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