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The American Society of Hematology submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration to support the proposed rule "Change to the Definition of 'Human Organ' Under Section 301 of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984" (RI 0906-AB02), which would ban financial compensation to all bone marrow donors.


The comments note that for patients with life-threatening blood cancers, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is one of the best options for treatment and potentially for cure-and voluntary bone marrow donations are vital to these processes. The comments also note:


* ASH supports the proposed rule, which incorporates hematopoietic stem cells within peripheral blood in the definition of "bone marrow";


* ASH supports the Administration's position of not allowing compensation for bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells for clinical use;


* ASH shares the concerns of the National Marrow Donor Program, including the expectation that compensation may interfere in the clinical decision of what is best for the patient, may result in actions by donors that raise concerns about the safety and quality of each donation, and may significantly increase the cost of transplantation; and


* ASH supports compensation for individuals who donate marrow or peripheral blood cells for the critical scientific research that advances the field of transplantation.