Topeka, KS (May 27, 2021) – Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and Senator Mike Thompson issued a joint statement pledging to continue to work towards funding COVID-19 treatment at the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at KU Medical Center. $500,000 of funding was included in the omnibus budget but was line-item vetoed by the governor. The Senate did not pursue a veto override on Wednesday.
The statement from Senators Masterson and Thompson is as follows:
“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. 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.”
In the governor’s veto message, she claimed the money would not be enough to do a real trial – but she provided misleading information on the costs of clinical trials. While she cited cost figures for lengthy trials with hundreds to thousands of patients, the very same paper she cited also noted the median cost (IQR) of a clinical trial of just $41,117 per patient. In a more recent paper, the same author said, “At a median cost of $41,413 per patient enrolled, the costs of obtaining this key scientific evidence are modest.”
The proposed Kansas adult stem cell trial is for 10 patients, which would be $50,000 per patient.
As indicated in a previous statement released by Senator Thompson after the governor’s veto, peer-reviewed scientific studies indicate a type of adult stem cell, called Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs), derived from the umbilical cord, can reduce inflammation by "calming the storm," as already proven in GVHD trials, allowing the body to fight and repair damage. The Governor's line-item veto of $500,000 ensures that a remedy which is ready for testing, will not be available to Kansas citizens. This therapy is also promising for a number of other severe inflammatory diseases, so COVID patients are not the only ones losing out as a result of the governor’s veto.