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Bilirakis, Matsui Call for Reauthorization of Federal Cell-Transplant Program

October 22, 2019 - 7:00am
Gus Bilirakis and Doris Matsui
Gus Bilirakis and Doris Matsui

From his perch as one of the chairs of the Congressional Caucus to Cure Blood Cancers and Other Blood Disorders, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., is championing a proposal to reauthorize the cell transplantation program named after a longtime Florida congressman. 

Bilirakis announced his support on Monday for U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui’s, D-Calif., “Timely Re-Authorization of Necessary Stem-cell Programs Lends Access to Needed Therapies (TRANSPLANT) Act.” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, is also cosponsoring the bill which would reauthorize the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and the National Cord Blood Inventory. Longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., served in Congress for more than four decades until his death in 2013 and led the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. 

“Through renewed federal funding for the vital national bone marrow and cord blood registry and coordinating centers, which facilitate bone marrow and cord blood donations, the TRANSPLANT Act ensures the continued provision of lifesaving transplants to treat diseases like blood cancer, sickle cell anemia, and inherited metabolic or immune system disorders,” Bilirakis’ office noted. 

“For the 1.3 million Americans fighting painful and potentially life-threatening blood cancer or bone marrow disorders, a successful transplant brings hope and a second chance at life,” said Matsui on Monday. “Reauthorizing the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, the ‘Be a Match’ National Registry, and the National Cord Blood Inventory are critical in connecting patients with donors and funding life-saving research to eradicate these devastating diseases. I am proud to introduce the TRANSPLANT Act so we can continue to support patients in need and those willing to give the gift of life.”

“This bill is about providing hope to those who are struggling with life-threatening illnesses.  This federal program provides critical support in the advancement of research for better treatments and the infrastructure necessary to organize registries which help ensure transplant patients have access to life saving procedures.  Its reauthorization is vital, and I hope our colleagues will join us in expediting passage of this important legislation,” said Bilirakis. 

“Every year, more than 17,000 people are diagnosed with illnesses where bone marrow and cord blood donations can quite literally save their lives,” said Pingree. “I’m proud to be a lead sponsor of the TRANSPLANT Act, which will help secure and expand the work being done by the national donor registry and find matches for as many patients as we can.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee at the end of last week. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate. 

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