Archive for Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Measure would start stem cell research center at KU Med

February 27, 2013


— A bill pushed by abortion opponents that would require the Kansas University Medical Center to establish a center that focuses on adult stem cell research will be debated in the Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 199, which would create the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, was authored by 22 conservative Republican senators, including Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita, Majority Leader Terry Bruce of Hutchinson, and Public Health and Welfare Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook of Shawnee.

"This has the potential of putting Kansas on the map in making actual patient therapies available," Pilcher-Cook said.

Gov. Sam Brownback also expressed support for the concept.

"Having an adult stem cell center is not only highly plausible, it's being done and used in many places around the world," he said.

"If Kansas could take a leadership position in that, it could be a highly useful thing for people to get treatments. There are number of different maladies now being treated by non-controversial stem cell treatments," he said. He added, "Let's see what develops in the process and in the bill."

The bill would prohibit the center 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.

Under the proposal, KU would appoint a director of the center who would be responsible for oversight of patient treatment and research with adult, cord blood and other non-embryonic stem cells.

The director could solicit grants, gifts and contributions. The bill also sets up a 13-member advisory board.

The center would require $1.1 million to renovate a lab and hire staff and $750,000 annually after that. But the funding has not been secured.

Several senators said they opposed the bill because the proposal didn't go through the normal appropriations process.

"This is really not the way that one puts together a first-rate, state-of-the-art research center," said state Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.

Kelly said the proposal for such a center should first come from the Medical Center and then through the Kansas Board of Regents.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, agreed, saying, "I'm hesitant because this hasn't come through any proper channels."

Kelly also said medical advisory boards traditionally are made up of experts in the field while a majority of the proposed advisory board to the center will be made up of political appointees.


kusp8 5 years, 3 months ago

Seems like something both parties should be able to work out. Pretty non controversial proposal, and actually a somewhat impressive one.

Pamela Shanks 5 years, 3 months ago

Noncontroversial? The funding is "not secured." Where are they going to come up with a new 1.1 million? Are you planning to donate? At this point, I can't believe anyone is planning for new spending. We can't afford the current budget.

voevoda 5 years, 3 months ago

The scientists should be the ones to decide what research is worth doing, not the state legislature.

question4u 5 years, 3 months ago

"Kelly also said medical advisory boards traditionally are made up of experts in the field while a majority of the proposed advisory board to the center will be made up of political appointees."

Well, the center wasn't proposed by anyone with expertise on the subject, so why should experts make up the majority of the advisory board? Besides, science controlled by political ideology should be just right for Kansas because it's never been the American model.

The Kansas Legislature is no doubt right to follow the Soviet model. The prohibition of work on genetics left Soviet scientists entirely free from having to participate in the most important advances in the biological sciences in the middle of the 20th century. They didn't have to waste any time going to Stockholm to receive Nobel prizes in Medicine or Physiology either.

This is a good idea, since KU Medical Center researchers shouldn't have to deal with the hassles of making breakthroughs.

riverdrifter 5 years, 3 months ago

More junk science from the hayseed/teabag Kansas legislature.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

"The bill would prohibit the center 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."

This line of thought makes no sense to me at all.

Women are going to have abortions whether or not abortion opponents like or not. This is an opportunity to take something positive and create something that could save the lives of other children (and adults) that were born. It could be used to help prevent abortions that are due to fetal abnormalities.

Bradley Kemp 5 years, 2 months ago

Sen. Pilcher-Cook has made it a personal crusade to ban embryonic stem cell research in Kansas -- and to make any therapies using such cells unavailable to Kansans. She tried bill after bill when she was a member of the Kansas House, and although she found supporters, none of the bills managed to make it past the moderate leadership of the Kansas Senate.

Last November's elections eliminated that roadblock to her ambition. And she's taken the smarter tack of proposing what seems on the face of it to be a constructive bill. But it's just a back door effort to write into state law restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. (Which, incidentally, doesn't involve cells taken from aborted fetuses; an aborted fetus has only adult stem cells, not embryonic ones.)

Kansas medical researchers should be free to pursue work involving both embryonic and adult stem cells in the search for cures. They don't need politicians setting their research agendas, and none of us needs to have scientific progress stalled by purely political maneuvering.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 2 months ago

Lots of MD's in the Capital. Wish we had some statesmen/women who would deal with real issues instead of theology.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 2 months ago

When I'm looking for advice on cutting edge research, the first place I go is Kansans For Life.

This bill successfully combines government interference with increased bureaucracy, two things Sam Brownback claims to be eliminating...

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 2 months ago

Souki hits the nail on the head.

And the language is deceptive to the audience. "Adult" stem cell research is definitively not stem cell research.

The "Kansas For Life" crowd has been parading this wheelbarrow of confusion around for years.

TalkSense 5 years, 2 months ago

I've read the bill closely. The director of the center is authorized to seek research grants and solicit private gifts, circumventing KU Endowment. The director will then "remit all moneys so received to the state treasurer . . [who] shall deposit the entire amount in the state treasury to the credit of the Midwest stem cell therapy center fund," circumventing the university. Also, "fees received for core charges for cell processing and manufacturing, clinical trial fees and similar service charges shall be paid to the university of Kansas medical center research institute, inc. or university of Kansas endowment, as determined by the director." Also, "duties of [advisory board] members may include fundraising, public speaking and other public relation activities to advance public awareness of successful adult, cord blood and related stem cell therapeutic options." Also, "The governor shall appoint the chairperson of the advisory board and the chairperson may serve consecutive terms." On top of all this is the novel concept that a purely political and ideological act can suddenly mandate the creation of a research center without consulting the faculty who'd be expected to conduct the research. Read the bill and you'll be startled by the implications.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 2 months ago

This Frankenstein bill is what happens when you try to mix religious and political ideology (are there any real differences in the two?) with science.
I, too, have read the bill and the only way it could be more Sovietesque would be if it had "Glory to the Fatherland" stamped on it.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, the soviets denied evolution, as it clashed with communist ideology. "Survival of the fittest" did not fit with "Each to his own ability, each to his own need". Instead, they focused on Lamarckian inheritance (e.g. if you build your muscles, your children will have bigger muscles) which fit much better with their ideology.

Darwinian evolutionists were banished to Novosibirsk in Siberia, which is now the center of genetics and evolution in Russian science.

This is indeed a very soviet-like bill from the Kansas legislature.

Orwell 5 years, 2 months ago

How about the Lysenko Institute as a name for the new KUMC facility?

JenniferZiegler 5 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Scott for reporting on this exciting news! I am a former KU cheerleader and former resident of Shawnee, Ks. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! I was thrilled to read a Senator from my home town was presenting legislation to make a stem cell center in Kansas. Thank you Senator Mary Pilcher-Cooke! I am a stem cell recipient for my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosed in 2004. Many American who face living with a chronic illness, are forced into medical tourism because it is not offered in our country. Most of my MS friends have received treatment in places like Costa Rica, Panama, and Germany. I became a part of an IRB study in Houston, Tx. when the FDA stepped in and closed the study down, siting lab violations and problems with how the cells were being expanded. I received 200mil cells on Oct. 5th 2012. I was scheduled to receive 2 more treatments with a total of 600mil cells, but that never happened. I was literally left hanging mid treatment! Many MS drugs carry black label warnings, and are the most dangerous of the most dangerous. Many chronically ill people have exhausted all forms of FDA approved treatment. There are hundreds of studies from around the world the speak to the safety and efficacy of AdMSC (adult stem cell therapy) We should have the right to be treated with our own cells. The FDA declared my cells a bio drug that need regulation just like any drug, and that will take years. The FDA moves glacially slow in the drug approval process, and while they do, many of my friends will face life in nursing homes, or in worst cases, they will parish.

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