Dear Senator Shafer:
Dr. David Hess made me aware of your worthy bill, and I write to support it.
There is a great need for banking umbilical cord stem cells. These stem cells are already needed for a large variety of clinical uses in children, including cancer, sickle cell disease, and a host of hereditary neurological diseases.
Those of us who deal with the potential, hture clinical uses for stem cells feel that umbilical cord cells will have an increasmgly long list of medical indications.
The cells used for these purposes must “match” with the individual receiving the transplant. While parents in higher socioeconomic groups can afford to “bank” cells from children in their own families, and thereby make it more likely their children will have a potential match, this option is not financially feasible for most. In order for a match to be available for children in all economic groups, the cost of maintaining a sufficiently large bank must be borne by state funding.
The need for such a bank is even greater for minorities, because it is often more difficult to find a match for children in these groups. In consideration of Georgia’s significant minority populations, the need for a large bank containing multiple samples is even more necessary for our State.
It is unusual to come across an issue that clearly eclipses political party considerations. Senate Bill 148 is one of these issues.
James Carroll, M.D.
Professor and Chief, Child Neurology
Children’s Health Center
Medical College of Georgia