Cord Blood Bank to Honor Founding Lawmakers

By Sally Graham

The event supporting the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Individual seats and corporate sponsor table packages ranging from $60 to $5,000 can be reserved by calling Art Horne at (501) 686-8957 or emailing him at Donations, in lieu of attendance, are also accepted. Details can be found on the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas’ Facebook page.

The luncheon will honor state Sen. Johnny Key of Mountain Home and state Rep. Jon Woods of Springdale, the original sponsors of Act 695 of 2007. This act allowed Arkansas to begin storing and researching blood cells harvested from umbilical cords following the birth of healthy children.

Included in the legislation, was an initiative to set up a statewide cord blood banking network. This aids in collecting and transporting donations and is housed at UAMS, which has one of the largest adult blood cell transplant centers in the country. 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. Last year’s opening of the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas at UAMS ensured that Arkansans statewide have the opportunity to donate 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 cord blood bank. “We want to honor these leaders who had the foresight to recognize the benefits of this effort and the potential it holds for Arkansans.”

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 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. 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 cord blood bank will soon be a member in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and linked into its database, allowing UAMS to match donations with potential transplant patients worldwide.

For more information about cord blood, call 1 (855) 854-2222 or (501) 686-6271 or visit

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or