President Biden Signs NCBI Re-Authorization

Law also supports advancement of regenerative medicine

Issued: May 31, 2021

President Joe Biden has signed into law the Transplant Act which re-authorizes the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI) at up to $23 million per year through Fiscal Year 2025.

The law also renews the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program that provides lifesaving bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants for patients suffering from blood cancers, disorders and diseases. Funding for that program is up to $30 million per year over the next five years.

Earlier this spring the proposed legislation passed both houses of the U.S. congress by overwhelming bipartisan majorities. It was signed by the President on May 26. Both the NCBI and C.W. Bill Young programs originally became law in 2005, but require re-authorization every five years. 

Critically Needed

“The passage of the Transplant Act is critical for the continuation of operations for the NCBI public banks,” said Joanne Kurtzberg, MD, CBA president. “The funding will enable NCBI banks to continue to add high-quality cord blood units to their inventories. This, in turn, will provide expanded opportunities for donors and enhanced access to transplantation for patients in need.”

The NCBI is administered through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It subsidizes public cord blood banks, increasing the inventory of units available for patients in need of an unrelated donor hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Qualifying units are listed on and distributed through the Be The Match Registry of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which is also financially supported by the legislation.

Outcomes of unrelated donor stem cell transplants are reported to the Stem Cell Therapeutics Outcomes Database at the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), which is also supported financially by the legislation. 

Both the CBA and NMDP worked with members of congress to develop the legislation.  Sponsors in their respective branches of congress were Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA). Co-sponsors were Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Tim Scott (R-SC), and Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME).

Regenerative Medicine

The Transplant Act also requires HHS to review the state of science related to adult stem cells and birthing tissues for potential inclusion in the program, and it requires the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with other federal agencies, to further the field of regenerative medicine.

In addition, the law requests a report by the comptroller general on the state of the regenerative medicine workforce.