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Stowers Puts Expansion on Hold

Stowers Institute for Medical Research at 1000 East 50th Street
Stowers Institute for Medical Research at 1000 East 50th Street

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City, MO – Stowers Institute officials say a volatile political climate is preventing them from expanding embryonic stem cell research and the building of new laboratories are now on hold. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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In the fall the Stowers Institute backed Amendment 2 - it was a ballot measure to protect federally approved stem cell research in Missouri. Voters narrowly passed it and Stowers said it would then be able to recruit top scientists to start embryonic stem cell research to find lifesaving cures.

But, Stowers spokesperson, Laurie Roberts, says the amendment is not enough to convince potential researchers that they're protected from lawmakers who want to criminalize their work.

Laurie Roberts: "Even though Amendment 2 did pass there were almost immediate efforts to overturn it."

Senator Matt Bartle is one politician who wants to overturn the amendment he says allows human cloning. He says Stowers misled the voters.

Matt Bartle: "They told the people that they would build it and now they're basically retracting their promise."

Although the plans are on hold, Roberts says Stowers recently bought 100 acres of land near the Midtown facility for future development.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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