Game-Changer for life-saving stem cells


MSNBC — “Certain bone marrow donors could soon be compensated for their life-saving stem cells after federal officials declined to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing a lower court order to become law. At least one agency,, hopes to begin a pilot program offering up to $3,000 in scholarships, housing vouchers or charity donations — but not cash — in exchange for matching donations of marrow cells derived from blood.

“This decision is a total game-changer,” said Jeff Rowes, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which filed the lawsuit three years ago on behalf of cancer victims and others seeking bone marrow matches. “Any donor, any doctor, any patient across the country can use compensation in order to get bone marrow donors.”
That may be the effect of the decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to forgo a high court review of a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that certain kinds of bone marrow donations are exempt from federal rules banning compensation. Under the ruling, donors who provide marrow cells through a process similar to blood donation, called peripheral blood stem cell apheresis, can be compensated because those cells are no longer regarded as organs or organ parts as defined in the National Organ Transplant Act. (Full Story and Video)

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