TMA Testimony: HB 2063 Stem Cell Research, Donors

 

Testimony: House Bill 2063 by Rep. Hubert Vo (D-Houston)

House Committee on State Affairs  

By: Susan N. Rossmann, MD, PhD
April 13, 2011  

Chair Cook and members of the committee, my name is Susan Norton Rossmann, MD, PhD. I am here today from Houston where I am the Chief Medical Officer for the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. I am also a member of the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA) Council on Science and Public Health. I’m here today on behalf of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and the 45,000 physician members and medical students of the TMA.  

We are pleased to express our support for HB 2063 by Rep. Hubert Vo. The substitute bill Representative Vo has proposed provides an important change in the leave requirements that will allow more state employees to donate peripheral blood stem cells.

The Texas Legislature has always responded to our great need to promote organ and blood donation. Your support for donor awareness and a registry in Texas was critical in making sure more Texans learned how they could become organ and tissue donors. The Glenda Dawson Donate Life Texas Registry has fostered great collaboration among many people and organizations—all committed to the same goal of promoting organ, tissue, and eye donation. You also already allow state employees time to contribute to organ and bone marrow donation. HB 2063 extends this to allow for peripheral blood stem cells.  These cells, which can be harvested through a process like platelet donation, are used today in a majority of “bone marrow” transplants for adults.  These cells usually allow for the more rapid recovery of the patient.    

This bill makes it easier for more Texas state employees to make donations that allow for important lifesaving treatments. The collection process itself may take one or two days, and the donor must receive drugs to stimulate the necessary cells for several days before the collection.  By allowing state employees to donate more easily, you help patients with diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers.   

It takes a strong public and private collaboration to address the needs of some of our most vulnerable Texans – those who need bone marrow transplants. This legislation is an important step. Organ, bone marrow, and stem cell donation benefits all Texans. We need to encourage our strong state workforce to be part of these efforts. We urge your support for this important legislation. 

82nd Texas Legislature Testimonies