Arkansas Tax Filers Can Donate to Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas

Michele Fox, M.D., is the medical director of the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas.

Michele Fox, M.D., is the medical director of the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas. 

March 1, 2012 | Arkansas tax filers again this year have the option to donate all or part of their income tax refunds to help build a statewide cord blood banking system based at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Arkansans are now in an elite, active network being looked upon nationally as a state model for promoting the use of umbilical cord blood cells collected following the birth of healthy children. Last summer’s opening of the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas (CBBA) at UAMS ensured that Arkansans statewide have the opportunity to donate these blood cells for their family’s use, public use or for research .

“With further research and the operation of this efficient cord blood banking system, more than 100 million Americans and 2 billion people worldwide could potentially be treated or cured of diseases,” said Michele Fox, M.D., professor of pathology and director of Cell Therapy and Transfusion at UAMS and medical director of the CBBA.

Cord blood cells can be quickly, safely and painlessly collected from umbilical cords following the birth of healthy children. The umbilical cord, placenta and amniotic fluid, all of which are typically discarded after birth, are rich in primitive cells that can be collected without destroying embryos.

Umbilical cord blood has already aided in finding treatment for aplastic anemia, leukemia, lymphoma, lupus, thalassemia, sickle cell disease, spinal cord injury and Crohn’s disease, while further research is being done to find treatment for corneal degeneration, heart disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The statewide cord blood banking network authorized by the state Legislature aids in collecting, processing and storing donations. UAMS has one of the largest adult blood cell transplant centers in the country and houses the state’s cord blood bank. The CBBA will soon be a member in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and linked into the NMDP database, allowing UAMS to match donations with potential transplant patients worldwide.

State tax filers can elect to include a donation with their state income tax return. The check-off allows filers to have donations automatically deducted from their refund checks for whatever amount they wish to give. Filers expecting to owe money also have the option to donate by filling out the same form, but submitting a separate donation check.

For more information call 1 (855) 854-2222 (CBBA) or (501) 686-6271 or visit www.cordbloodbankarkansas.org.

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