State tax forms have box for donation to fund cord blood bank - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

State tax forms have box for donation to fund cord blood bank

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas taxpayers will have the option this year of helping pay for medical progress and research. A new check-off box appears on state income tax forms this year that allows filers to donate all or part of their refund to help build a statewide cord-blood banking system.

The system is to be based at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. A bill signed last year by Governor Beebe allows the state to begin storing and researching potentially life-saving blood cells harvested from umbilical cords. The blood is harvested following the birth of healthy children.

Money contributed through the income tax check-off program will go to the Newborn Umbilical Cord Blood Initiative. No funding was included in the law other than the tax check-off program.

Doctor Michele Fox, a professor of pathology and director of cell therapy and transfusion medicine at UAMS, said the check-off is a big first step in getting money for a program with enormous healing and life-saving potential. She said cells harvested from an umbilical cord after the birth of a child show huge promise for regenerating diseased or injured organs. She said that includes dead heart muscle, bone and spinal cord tissue.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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