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Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) spoke in support of the Timely ReAuthorization of Necessary Stem-cell Programs Lends Access to Needed Therapies Act of 2020, known as the TRANSPLANT Act. Congressman Emmer is a co-sponsor of this legislation. 

The TRANSPLANT Act reauthorizes the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, which provides support to patients who need a potentially life-saving bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. This program requires reauthorization every 5 years. 

The National Marrow Donor Program, more popularly known as Be The Match, has operated this national bone marrow donor registry since its inception in 1987. Be The Match was founded in Minnesota, where its headquarters remain today. 

Watch Rep. Emmer's Remarks here.

Transcript:

"Madam Speaker,

Many families, including my own, have been impacted by cancer. For the more than 178,000 Americans diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma, the Be the Match Program represents hope.

Founded in Minnesota, Be the Match runs the world's largest registry designed to connect patients in need of lifesaving blood or marrow transplants, with a donor. In 2019, Be the Match facilitated over 6,500 transplants, giving hope to countless families around the world.

Minnesota has long been a hub for this kind of medical innovation, and as a co-chair of the Personalized Medicine Caucus, I urge all of my colleagues today to support the TRANSPLANT Act and reauthorize federal partnerships like Be the Match which have impacted the lives of millions.

Connecting patients with donors and developing the next generation of regenerative medicine truly represents the best of who we are as society. I thank Representative Matsui and the other sponsors of this legislation for their hard work and encourage everyone to help keep hope alive by supporting this bill.

I yield back." 

Background:

In 1987, the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry was established. In 1988, the name changed to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which was operated out of an office at the American Red Cross in St. Paul, Minnesota. This program has become a worldwide service and has facilitated more than 100,000 hematopoietic cell transplants with marrow, peripheral blood stem cells, and cord blood, and now conducts nearly 6,200 transplants a year.

The program is the single point of access for coordinating care for those in need of marrow transplants. They maintain the central database for marrow donors and cord blood units in one electronic system. This system has more than 22 million donors on the Registry, and more than 35 million donors worldwide. They also have exclusive access to 300,000 cord blood units, and nearly 783,000 cord blood units worldwide

The TRANSPLANT Act also supports the Office of Patient Advocacy, which provides information, resources, and support to patients and families facing illnesses. They also operate a Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database, which collects and uses data about transplants to improve transplantation to help patients live longer. The reauthorization of this funding will ensure Be The Match can reduce the time patients wait for a transplant, protect access to transplants, and save lives through cellular therapy.

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