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Kansas Senate leaders pledge to work toward funding COVID-19 research at Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center

FILE - Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, speaks to fellow GOP senators during a...
FILE - Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, speaks to fellow GOP senators during a caucus meeting, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Masterson sees some improvements in what he considered a disastrous state rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and is pushing a bill to require all K-12 schools to offer in-person classes to all students. (AP Photo/John Hanna)((AP Photo/John Hanna))
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 10:53 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and Senator Mike Thompson have pledged to use the off-session to educate their peers about the need for funding COVID-19 stem cell research at the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center.

Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and Senator Mike Thompson say they pledge to continue to work towards funding COVID-19 treatments at the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Sen. Masterson said $500,000 of funding was included in the omnibus budget but was line-item vetoed by Governor Laura Kelly. He said the Senate did not pursue a veto override on Wednesday.

“Due to confusion created by the governor’s misleading veto message, we elected to further educate members of the legislature in the off-session about the importance of funding these important trials to fast forward a potential treatment of severe cases of COVID-19,” said the Senators. “The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, created by the Kansas legislature in 2013, is in a unique position to be a leader in pursuing ground-breaking treatment to those who have been most acutely impacted by COVID-19 as well as other diseases. It is unfortunate the governor decided to use her veto pen to undermine this research, but the Senate is committed to securing this funding.”

According to Masterson, in Gov. Kelly’s veto message, she claimed the money would not be enough to do a real trial, however, she provided misleading information about the costs of clinical trials. While she cited cost figures for lengthy trials with hundreds to thousands of patients, he said the same paper she cited also mentioned the median cost of a clinical trial is only $41,117 per patient. In a more recent paper, he said the same author said, “At a median cost of $41,413 per patient enrolled, the costs of obtaining this key scientific evidence are modest.”

Masterson said the proposed Kansas adult stem cell trial is only for 10 patients, which would only cost about $50,000 per patient.

According to Masterson, as shown in a previous statement released by Sen. Thompson after Gov. Kelly’s veto, peer-reviewed scientific studies show a type of adult stem cell, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, that come from the umbilical cord, can reduce inflammation by “calming the storm,” as trials have already shown, allowing the body to fight and repair damage. He said the Governor’s line-item veto ensures that a remedy that is ready for testing, will not be available for Kansans. He said this therapy is also promising for a number of other severe inflammatory diseases, so patients with COVID-19 are not the only ones losing out as a result of the veto.

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