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Archive for Friday, June 7, 2013

Amid budget cuts to higher education, KU gets funding for adult stem cell center

June 7, 2013

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— As Kansas University officials bemoaned legislative budget cuts this week, Kansas Board of Regents member Ed McKechnie wondered if those cuts could be alleviated somewhat by diverting funds that KU received in another area — but didn't request.

McKechnie, of Arcadia, was talking about the $2 million allocated over two years to create and run the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the KU Medical Center.

"Stem cell research is good, but I don't know if that's what we need to do right now," McKechnie said. "Might be a good idea to use that to offset other things."

Republicans pushed through an appropriations bill that cuts higher education by $66 million over 2 years.

Regents blasted the cuts but conceded there was little they could do about them except ask Gov. Sam Brownback to make higher education funding a priority next year.

But amid the cuts, legislators also approved the creation of the stem cell research center at KU, a center that KU officials did not ask for during the appropriations process.

The center will work 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.

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.

Brownback, an ardent opponent of abortion, signed the bill into law, giving it his full backing. Initially, the Legislature provided no funding for the center, but Brownback proposed a budget amendment using funds from the Kansas Bioscience Authority to get the center going.

The Legislature later changed that proposal to funding the center through general tax revenue.

Facing cuts in other areas at KU, McKechnie said maybe the funding for the center could be used elsewhere.

However, Regents Vice Chairman Fred Logan, of Leawood, said that wasn't a good idea.

"I'm all for the Legislature and governor putting money in," for the center, Logan said. He said world-class research on adult stem cells already is occurring at KU, and with the formation of the center "it now will be world-renown."

Comments

chipmunk 1 year, 6 months ago

Since successful somatic cell nuclear transfer using human cells was just achieved, can that be done at the Midwest Stem Cell Christian Taliban Center or are the Ayatollahs in the legislature opposed to that as well?

question4u 1 year, 6 months ago

"...it now will be world-renown."

Logan might believe that and might have said that, but no doubt he meant that the center would be "world renowned."

Of course KU already has programs and centers that are world renowned. Surely the university is in the best position to determine how to use its reduced funds. The idea that the dumbest legislature in Kansas history is qualified to determine curriculum, research, and strategic planning at KU or any other university is absurd.

fearthephog512 1 year, 6 months ago

Funding for a center they didn't ask for. How about actually funding universities in Kansas?

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 6 months ago

Dumb and driven by extreme anti-abortion ideology.

jaydocky 1 year, 6 months ago

They will just put a plaque on the door of an existing lab, give that faculty member a few bucks, and use the rest for administration.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 6 months ago

They probably won't give anyone any extra bucks for it, due to the salary cap the legislature also wrote into law.

dinglesmith 1 year, 6 months ago

Really folks. Even if this is the best idea ever, do you realize how little life science research $1M buys? The money should be politely returned not because of ideology, but because it is absolutely wasted. Think being told to drive to Denver and given $1 for gas. You can spend it, but it's not going to get you anywhere close to where you want to be.

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