WASHINGTON, May 23, 2003 ( – At a Capitol Hill briefing yesterday, the Do No Harm Coalition of American for Research Ethics, amply demonstrated that non-controversial stem cell research involving umbilical cord and placenta blood are the best way forward. Gene Tarne, Communications Director for Do No Harm told LifeSite, “with all the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cell research that debate is going to drag on and on, but cord and placenta blood is non-controversial and already now helping patients.”  Keone Penn, a 16 year old African-American transplanted with cord blood stem cells for sickle-Cell anemia five years ago, spoke at the press conference noting he was given five years to live and after six years he is feeling fine.  Penn was featured in “60 Minutes” as the first sickle cell anemia patient cured with unrelated cord blood stem cells.  Similarly Steven Sprague, a 54 year old transplanted with cord blood stem cells for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) five years ago explained that doctors had told him to set his affairs in order to prepare for death prior to his cord blood transplant.  He is now in fine health.  Joanne Kurtzberg, MD, the Director of Pediatric Oncology at Duke University Medical Center, and the Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, called on the federal government to establish a cord and placental blood bank.  She stressed that these non-controversial stem cells are effecting real cures today right now and the costs are minimal once the bank is established.  Dr. Kutzberg, who in 1993 performed the first unrelated successful cord blood transplant in the unrelated setting for a patient with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, said that whereas with bone marrow transplants, it can take months to find a match, with cord and placental blood a match is found in a few days.