Kansas Bioscience Industry
The next century holds great promise for future discoveries. By investing in medical research, we are investing in our future. In my home state of Kansas, the bioscience industry has grown at a faster rate than the national sector since 2001. This growth opens the doors for new medical and technological advancements. Kansas has already become a leader in advancing biomedical and bioscience research.
One such example is the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), to be built adjacent to Kansas State University in Manhattan and estimated to be operational in the next few years. This state-of-the-art biosecurity lab will replace our country’s antiquated foreign animal research facility at Plum Island, NY, which has a limited capacity to respond to animal disease threats.
NBAF will also accelerate the development of vaccines, antivirals and diagnostics to protect our country’s food supply and agriculture economy from foreign animal disease outbreaks introduced into our country naturally, accidentally or deliberately by terrorists.
A second example is the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC) in Kansas City, which in September formally applied to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to become an NCI-designated Cancer Center. NCI is a component of NIH, and our nation’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Obtaining NCI designation would dramatically enhance KUCC’s ability to discover, develop, and deliver innovative treatments to patients in our state, improving their quality of life.
Currently, there are 66 NCI-designated cancer centers across the country—but none in Kansas. With NCI designation, KUCC patients would have access to the latest clinical trials and the most advanced cancer treatments close to home. Because NCI designation is the highest recognition for an academic cancer center, KUCC would also be better positioned to recruit the brightest researchers and scientists to develop cutting-edge treatments and cures in Kansas.
Another example is the Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research (CIBOR) at Wichita State University. Wichita has long been known as the “Air Capital of the World,” because of its long history of aviation manufacturing. At CIBOR, physicians, engineers, and scientists are using composite materials developed by aviation manufacturers to improve advanced medical devices, such as artificial knees and hips. This unprecedented research partnership between the healthcare and aviation sectors is generating new devices to improve patients’ lives.