Karmanos Cancer Institute's J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank Receives $1.4 Million Federal Contract

Oct 22, 2010, 12:12 ET from Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute


DETROIT, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute will receive a $1.4 million, three-year, contract award from the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand its cord blood collection program. The contract will allow Karmanos to bank more genetically-diverse, high-quality umbilical cord blood units for inclusion in the National Cord Blood Inventory. Cord blood is used for the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell disease and other hematological cancers.  

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Umbilical cord blood collected from the placenta after a baby is born is rich in blood-forming cells and is increasingly being used in transplants. Today, approximately 20 percent of transplant patients who do not have a matching donor in their family receive cord blood that was generously donated to a public cord blood bank. This contract award will help Karmanos address a severe national shortage of minority and ethnically diverse cord blood so that minorities have access to a life-saving match.  

The J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank was established in 2001 as a public, nonprofit stem cell bank with funding from The Carls Foundation and the J.P. McCarthy Foundation. Because of the support from these foundations, the J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank has been able to continue expansion, allowing it to successfully qualify for this contract. Karmanos' J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank processes and stores donated umbilical cord blood collected by dedicated obstetricians and midwives at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital of Ann Arbor, and Providence Park Hospital in Novi. With this additional funding, Karmanos hopes to expand operations within the Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital; the ProMedica System of Northern Ohio; and with additional funding from the Sinai Medical Staff Foundation, Sinai Grace Hospital of Detroit.

"We are honored to receive this award and feel privileged to be able to provide life-saving cord blood for those in need of a stem cell transplant," said Gerold Bepler, president and CEO, Karmanos Cancer Institute. "This award will help us enhance the exceptional work already being done by our transplant team and allow us to specialize in genetically-diverse cord blood to help close the gap on disparities among minorities in need of a stem cell transplant."    

The J. P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at Karmanos currently has one of the highest percentages of African-American units banked within the National Marrow Donor Registry and is one of only 25 internationally recognized banks affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program. It is one of only nine cord blood banks in the United States accredited by The Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). This accreditation signifies the highest standards of practice in collection, processing and transplantation.

About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for nearly 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Karmanos is southeastern Michigan's most preferred hospital for cancer care according to annual surveys conducted by the National Research Corporation. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.

SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute