Senator DeFrancisco: Saving Lives Through Umbilical Cord Research

We are delighted to have NYS Senator John DeFrancisco as our guest blogger today.

After years of hard work, I am pleased to inform you that Upstate Medical University has broken ground for an Upstate Cord Blood Bank on its Community General campus.  I secured $15 million dollars in state funding for this world-class facility, which will save lives.Upstate Cord Blood Bank Groundbreaking

Luca Vassallo, 4, and Jared Saya, 14, are two Central New York children whose lives were saved from umbilical cord blood stem cells.  Research has proven that these cells greatly benefit the medical research community because they can manufacture every type of blood cell in the human body.  More importantly, blood stem cells have successfully treated various illnesses, including leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, lymphomas, inherited red cell abnormalities, and other cancers. And the beauty is that these cells are being harvested from what otherwise would have been medical waste, since umbilical cords are routinely discarded after child birth.

Having a public umbilical cord blood bank here in Central New York will allow families to donate their babies’ umbilical cords for free, and those stem cells from the cords can be combined with similar type cells from other donors.  Each step of the way, my enthusiasm for this project has grown because I know the Upstate Cord Blood Bank will help save lives by making umbilical cord blood available to more in need of possible life-saving treatments.

To watch WSYR-TV’s coverage of the Upstate Cord Blood Bank, please click here.

Very truly yours,
John A. DeFrancisco, State Senator

-Jaime Venditti, 9/21/12