Archive for Monday, April 22, 2013

Brownback signs into law bill establishing adult stem cell research and treatment at KU Medical Center

April 22, 2013


— In a mix of science and anti-abortion politics, Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday signed into law a bill that establishes the nation's first adult stem cell research and treatment center at the Kansas University Medical Center.

"I am honored to sign this bill of hope and promise and current treatments," Brownback said.

Brownback described adult stem cell and umbilical cord blood research as an "exploding" area of new discoveries to treat people with a wide range of diseases. "KU will be the leader, Kansas will be the leader, which is fabulous in this burgeoning field," he said.

But the bill carried political overtones.

It was sponsored by vehement abortion opponents and pushed by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group.

In addition, KU never asked for the legislation establishing what will be known as the Midwest Stem Cell Center, and the Legislature has yet to produce the estimated $1.1 million needed for the center's startup.

Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at KU Medical Center, on Monday speaks during Gov. Sam Brownback's bill-signing ceremony on legislation establishing the Midwest Stem Adult Stem Cell Center.

Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at KU Medical Center, on Monday speaks during Gov. Sam Brownback's bill-signing ceremony on legislation establishing the Midwest Stem Adult Stem Cell Center.

The center will be charged with working on adult stem cell, cord blood and related stem cell research, providing therapies to patients and serving as a clearinghouse for physicians on cutting-edge treatments.

Related document

Summary of Senate Bill 199 ( .PDF )

The center is prohibited from using embryonic stem cells or cells taken from aborted fetal tissue. Abortion opponents oppose human embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of the embryo.

Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at KU Medical Center, was the only KU representative on hand at the bill-signing ceremony. He said the number of clinical trials of bone marrow stem cells for treatment of heart disease had been increasing tremendously over the past several years.

"It would be great to bring such therapies to Kansas, and the formation of such a center which would engage in adult stem cell therapy in patients would give Kansans the chance to be enrolled in such therapy and perhaps give treatment that would change their life," he said.

David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council, said the center "puts Kansas in a leadership position."

State Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, who carried the bill in the Legislature said she would push for funding the center when the Legislature returns May 8 for the wrapup session.

"That's all under discussion right now," she said.

At the bill-signing ceremony, several people who have survived diseases spoke about their treatments and how they believed the new center would expand the availability of treatments for others.

Mary Rusco, of Wichita, said she received stem cells from an umbilical cord.

"I have been cancer free for four years now, and as far as I'm concerned I'm cured. I really appreciate the fact that Kansas is doing this so that other people can have access to this opportunity," she said.

Terry Killman, of Independence, received a bone marrow transplant from his brother.

"This bill will make it that much better for more people to have the opportunity that I've had to live," he said.


d_prowess 5 years, 2 months ago

Did anyone ask the governor or Senator Mary Pilcher Cook what happens if the legislature refuses to give them the $1.1 million needed to start up this center?

elliottaw 5 years, 2 months ago

How exactly is this being funded, it is now a mandate and KU must get the money/equipment on its own to run this new place? This is the real reason the state will never completely cut off KU, as long as they fund them in any amount they can tell they what they can do.

JenniferZiegler 5 years, 2 months ago

As a former resident of Shawnee Ks., and a former student at KU this is excellent news! I made the decision to seek adult stem cell treatment to treat my multiple sclerosis. I am closely following the legislation going on in Kansas, as well as Texas, which is now my home state. The Texas house has current legislation similar to the bill Governor Brownback just signed. HB2342 by Rep. John Zedler would make way for The Texas Adult Stem Cell Research Consortium. Since the FDA declared adult stem cells in our country drugs, patients are still forced to seek this treatment in other countries. It is my sincerest hope that every state will take matters into their own hands and follow the courageous example that Kansas and Texas are setting in relation to Adult Stem Cell Centers. Patients need options now, especially when they've exhausted all forms of FDA approved therapy.

straightforward 5 years, 1 month ago

Both have some advantages. Embryonic stem cells can be used in more ways but adult stem cells are less likely to be rejected by the body. If they are MUCH more useful then I'm sure the private money will follow.

tomatogrower 5 years, 1 month ago

I hope for your sake it happens, but they didn't fund it, so don't get your hopes up too much. Texas won't fund it either, probably, but they have some rich oil people who might fund it.

formerfarmer 5 years, 2 months ago

I am happy to see the legislature aprove the creation of the stem cell center, but I also figure if THIS legislature is going to approve money, it will be at the expense of existing programs already in place at KU. They are already considering cuts with next years budget.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 1 month ago

Senate Bill 199

What it is: A disconcerting move by politicians to dictate policy to a university medical center, not to mention an egregious example of an unfunded mandate.

What it does: Orders the University of Kansas Medical Center to create the “Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center,” at an estimated cost of $10.7 million over 10 years, which the university would have to raise without help from the Legislature.

Normally a hospital would convene experts and gauge need and sustainability before taking on such a project, but lawmakers rammed the idea into law in a matter of weeks. Research would be restricted to work on adult stem cells and cord blood cells. Abortion opponents in the Legislature see those as promising alternatives to controversial forms of embryonic stem cell research.

Problems ahead: Medical science is fast-moving, and a university medical center aspiring to break into the top tier needs to be able to set its own priorities. KU Medical Center already conducts research on adult stem cells, but it didn’t ask for a special center and it shouldn’t be leashed indefinitely to a research agenda established by politicians in Topeka.

Read more here:

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 1 month ago

What it does is illustrates the continuing opposition to abortion and the desire to do anything and everything to deny this legal and safe medical proceedure to women in Kansas.

Nothing else.

straightforward 5 years, 1 month ago

Safe for who? Not for the child who is killed, and in some cases, not for the mother either.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 1 month ago

An adult stem cell research center could be a good thing.

However, this was a political and ideological move by the legislature to force this to happen without input from the medical center and without funding.

This is abortion politics, not science or medicine.

theoljhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

Damned if you do and Damned if you don't!

Robin Jones 5 years, 1 month ago

Leave it to Mr. Rothschild to find something wrong with any idea from the right. Shabby treatment for an honorable idea!

tomatogrower 5 years, 1 month ago

Are you willing to pay more taxes to pay for it? You can't have your cake, and eat it without paying for it.

Xwards 5 years, 1 month ago

Back in my high school days, David Prentice and I were friends. It's sad to see him involved with a hate group like the Family Research Council. For more information on the FRC's actions, see:

Paul R Getto 5 years, 1 month ago

DNA is not sacred. This is religion disguised as science, in other words, par for the course for the KKKansas Taliban Party......

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 1 month ago

This is a shameful shot across the bow in the culture wars involving abortion politics. Science and medicine were not motivations for this. Rather, anti-abortion politics.

Another base, shameful act from the Kansas legislature.

And no money to pay for it to boot!

tomatogrower 5 years, 1 month ago

Actually it is just a positive way to ban something. They didn't want to come out and just ban the use of stem cells from aborted fetuses, because it would make it look like they didn't want to help the people who would benefit. Instead they can make themselves look and feel good, because they mandated the research, limiting it to certain "acceptable" stem cells. Many people will see it in a positive light, except informed voters who know the real motive. And again, WHERE"S THE MONEY?

Kevin Haislip 5 years, 1 month ago

i don't get it. what's in it for Brownback.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 1 month ago

Eventually to outlaw abortion and birth control. Personhood amendment is also in the works. All three positions are an attorney's dream.

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