Federal appeals court refuses to hear stem cell donor ruling

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In December, a panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in California unanimously ruled that because stem cells can be harvested from peripheral blood, that donating them is more akin to blood donation than to organ donation. Consequently, it should be legal to offer financial incentives to donors and should not be considered against the law in accord with the National Organ Transplant Act.

This week, a federal appeals court that was asked to reconsider the ruling has refused, with not a single one of the 25 active judges in support of another hearing.

The US Justice Department has 90 days to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

Proponents believe that incentives will bring more donors to the National Bone Marrow Program Registry, something that is desperately needed because so many ethnicities are under-represented in the registry. Opponents meanwhile argue that such incentives could lead to exploitation or to a rise in costs of bone marrow transplants so that only the wealthy can afford them.

Source: MedPage Today

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