Donors of blood stem cells hard to find in Western Washington, despite $800 pay

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center says it's difficult to find people willing to donate blood stem cells, even though they pay donors up to $800. These cells are essential to research and distributed by the Seattle research center to more than 100 outside investigators.

The Seattle Times reports the peripheral blood stem cells were first identified in the early 1960s and launched a new era of research.

Like other stem cells, they can copy themselves, differentiate into specialized cells and undergo cell death. Those attributes make them critical research tools for scientists.

Investigators studying diseases as diverse as cancer and sickle-cell anemia have relied on the cells collected by the Seattle research center. The program collects the cells and provides them to dozens of researchers across the country.