CATHOLIC HOSPITALS PROVIDE UPDATE
ON STATEWIDE STEM CELL INITIATIVE
ARCHBISHOP MYERS TOURS NEW STEM CELL FACILITY
ALLENDALE, NJ – During a recent a tour of Community Blood Services’ Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program facility, Archbishop John Myers, President of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, received a report from the Catholic HealthCare Partnership (CHCP) of New Jersey that all 10 Catholic hospitals that provide obstetrical services have signed contracts with either Community Blood Services in northern New Jersey or The Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, supporting the public donation of umbilical cord and placenta blood.

In a given year over 20,000 births take place in New Jersey Catholic hospitals. Last May, CHCP and the NJ Catholic Conference, along with Assemblymen Neil Cohen and Lou Greenwald, held a news conference to announce an initiative in which New Jersey’s Catholic hospitals would encourage umbilical cord and placenta blood donation among their obstetric patients. Since that time, there has been a significant increase in donations, which become part of the New Jersey Umbilical Cord and Placental Blood Bank Initiative.

“I am pleased to announce that since May, Catholic hospitals have provided the Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program with over 700 donations and Coriell Institute with over 100 donations,” said Father Joe Kukura, president of the New Jersey Catholic HealthCare Partnership, which represents New Jersey’s Catholic hospitals.
“Through these donations, we are realizing the riches adult stem cells afford researchers, doctors and, most importantly, patients.” He continued, “It’s exciting to hear stories such as how one of the units collected in the past nine months was used to treat a 60-year-old female with Acute Mylogenous Leukemia.”

The use of adult stem cells derived from placenta and umbilical cord blood holds promise in the future treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis, lupus, juvenile diabetes and arthritis, spinal cord injuries, as well as many other autoimmune diseases.
Upon receiving the Partnership’s report, Archbishop Myers said, “I applaud the efforts of the hospitals, staff and patients for understanding the importance of cord and placenta blood donation, and for their increasingly important and productive role in the field of stem cell research. Many experts in this field have long advocated that adult stem cell research holds the greatest promise for this research. Efforts like this partnership among the Catholic hospitals in New Jersey, Community Blood Services and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research will truly advance the goal of finding cures for disease without sacrificing human life.”

The Catholic HealthCare Partnership will continue to work with Community Blood Services and its member hospitals in promoting umbilical cord and placenta blood donation and to encourage donations especially from minority expectant mothers where the need is great. The program includes educating pregnant women about umbilical cord and placenta blood donation during prenatal health education and providing information about New Jersey’s public collection facilities.
Collaborating with the New Jersey Public Umbilical Cord and Placental Blood Bank Initiative and the two public umbilical blood banks of New Jersey, CHCP initiated an education campaign which was reinforced by the New Jersey Catholic Conference when it publicized the adult stem cell research and umbilical and placenta blood donation program in the Catholic parish weekly parish bulletins which are distributed at every Mass.

Umbilical cord and placenta blood donation to New Jersey’s two public cord blood banks provides more options for people with ailments curable through a stem cell transplant and will increase the research material available to New Jersey’s top medical researchers. The Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program in Paramus and the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden are the two facilities that collect, study, and research public umbilical cord and placenta blood donations.

This initiative was rolled out in the 10 Catholic hospitals in New Jersey that offer obstetrical services: Columbus Hospital, Newark; Holy Name Hospital, Teaneck; Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, Willingboro; Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden; Saint Clare’s Hospital, Denville/ Dover; St. James Hospital, Newark; St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Paterson; St. Mary Hospital, Hoboken; St. Mary’s Hospital, Passaic; Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick; and Trinitas Hospital, Elizabeth.

The other Catholic hospitals, which do not have obstetrical services, support this program in whatever way they can. They are Saint Clare’s Hospital, Sussex; St. Joseph’s/Wayne Hospital, Wayne; St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton; and St. Michael’s Medical Center, Newark.

 

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