THU AM News: Researchers testing new personalized cell therapy for transplant recipients; Foxconn’s scaled-back plans could increase cost per job, report shows

— Researchers with the UW Program for Advanced Cell Therapy are testing a personalized therapy for a viral infection that affects up to 40 percent of kidney and pancreas transplant recipients. 

The study is being performed at the UW Program for Advanced Cell Therapy. Scientists will use specialized white blood cells to treat severe cytomegalovirus after kidney procedures. About one-third of children are infected with this virus by age 5, according to the CDC, though it usually doesn’t cause symptoms in those with healthy immune systems. 

But in patients who’ve recently had a transplant procedure, the immune system is suppressed, giving the CMV virus a chance to advance through the body. In those cases, infections can be deadly, and some existing treatments have serious negative side effects. 

Dr. Jacques Galipeau, director of PACT, says the new approach provides a safer alternative for patients. The study team is taking white blood cells from a healthy relative of the patient, and changing them so they attack and kill the CMV virus when introduced to the patient’s system. 

“The use of living cells collected from relatives with intact immunity to cure viral complications of transplantation is an entirely new therapy for a vexing problem,” Galipeau said in a release. 

See more: 

— A new independent report created for the state Department of Administration estimates Foxconn’s scaled-back plans for its manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant could cost taxpayers more per job than the original proposal. 

The report shows if subsidy levels in the current contract are maintained, each Foxconn job would cost state taxpayers $290,000, compared to $172,000 under the original $10 billion, 13,000-job planned facility. 

By comparison, the report shows the average U.S. incentives per job are $24,000 per job, while that number is about $28,000 in Wisconsin. 

Tim Bartik, a researcher for the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, says he created his report in response to a request from the state DOA. He says it’s an independent report that wasn’t reviewed by the agency, and doesn’t reflect the views of the agency or the Upjohn Institute. 

As reported by The Verge, a U.S. online news network, Bartik says he shared the report with Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. But he says Hogan objected to his conclusions. 

“The most important conclusion of this analysis is that it is difficult to come up with plausible assumptions under which a revised Foxconn incentive contract, which offers similar credit rates to the original contract, has benefits exceeding costs,” he wrote in the report. “The incentives are so costly per job that it is hard to see how likely benefits will offset these costs.”  

See the report: 

See more in Foxconn Reports below. 

— With clean drinking water a hot topic in the state Capitol, four GOP lawmakers are circulating legislation to address lead-tainted water in schools, day care centers, group homes and summer camps. 

The lawmakers have dubbed the package the Supporting Children’s Health by Ousting Outdated Lead Acts, or SCHOOL Acts. 

One bill would require all schools that receive public funding to test for lead contamination in their drinking water. If the presence of lead was above allowable levels, the source of the water would have to be taken offline and an alternative source would have to be provided. 

If remediation was necessary and schools couldn’t afford it in the current budget, districts could go to a referendum outside of a regularly scheduled election. The bill also would encourage loans from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands by using money from a largely federally funded program to buy down interest rates. 

The second bill would require testing drinking water for lead as a condition to renew or continue licenses for daycares, group homes and summer camps. If unacceptable levels of lead are detected, the contaminated source would have to be taken offline, clean water provided and a remediation plan developed. 

See the release: 

— Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan are giving out $19,000 to organizations across the state, supporting youth prevention programs for e-cigarettes. 

“Our Health System and Security Health Plan have grown increasingly concerned about the health implications of e-cigarette use among our youth,” said Jay Shrader, MCHS vice president of community health and wellness. “Discussions with our community and state agency partners motivated us to mobilize and extend these resources to address this concern now.” 

This comes after the state Department of Health Services recently issued a safety warning about vaping, following eight cases of serious lung disease being identified in adolescents who reported using e-cigarettes. 

Each recipient is getting a stipend of $500. These include public health departments, academic institutions, school districts, tribal groups and others. 

See the full list of recipients: 

— Attorney General Josh Kaul has signed on to a series of letters from a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general urging streaming video providers to reduce the display of tobacco use to combat the rise in teen smoking. 

In letters to Netflix, Disney, Amazon, AT&T, Comcast and others, the AGs highlighted reports that found top-rated shows on streaming platforms contained significantly more tobacco imagery than their broadcast counterparts. The letter also pointed to research from the U.S. surgeon general’s office that found watching movies showing smoking increased the likelihood that a young person would try tobacco for the first time. 

In response, the AGS are calling for streaming platforms to adopt a series of policies “to protect young viewers from the ill effects of tobacco content.” Those include the elimination of tobacco imagery from content for young viewers, improved parental controls and the addition of “strong” anti-smoking public service announcements before content that features tobacco use. 

See the letter to Amazon:

— Madison-based Redox and the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation have partnered, the company recently announced. 

According to a release, WWHF went live with electronic referrals at OB/GYN clinics at a local integrated health system through “Redox Gives,” a program to ensure that nonprofits and public health teams have the necessary access to data to fully empower their initiatives.

“Redox Gives exists to support organizations that traditionally wouldn’t have the resources to purchase Redox but would benefit from our integration platform and services,” Redox President Niko Skievaski said in a statement. “We are thrilled that our partnership with WWHF gives people the help they need to be healthy and pass that down for generations.”

WWHF will use the Redox platform to streamline the way providers refer patients to the program, helping increase usage and eliminate unnecessary clerical work.

Redox, which helps providers and vendors exchange health care data, launched Redox Gives in October 2018.

See more at Madison Startups: 

See an earlier story on Redox: 


# New entrepreneur program aimed at drawing businesses to downtown West Bend

# GE Healthcare reaches tentative labor accord with IAM, IBEW

# Farm real estate values still rising in Wisconsin

# Sandblasting mugs with GinGee Girls



– Milwaukee’s historic Turner Hall unveils new signs


– UW-Madison student links university with Native American communities through wild rice research

– Jim Holte to retire as WFBF president in December

– Dr. Kratt is president-elect of National Veterinary Group


– Bayside redevelopment stirs passionate response

– Building blocks: New Banker Wire headquarters

– Building Commission OKs repairs to Capitol dome, $7M worth of work to Waupun prison


– CentralStar Cooperative names scholarship winners


– Milwaukee Film to host new Minority Health Film Festival


– Lowlands Group will transform Cafe Bavaria in Wauwatosa into Northwoods-themed restaurant The Buckatabon

– BelAir Cantina owners planning new concept in Shorewood


– Even fixing Wisconsin’s Foxconn deal won’t fix it, says state-requested report


– Milwaukee to host city’s first ever Minority Health Film Festival


– Sellars Absorbent Materials raising $12.1 million in debt


– Prominent Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney Daryl Diesing had passion for saving firms


– MillerCoors rival Anheuser-Busch acquires Midwest craft brewer


– Conservative think tank sues Gov. Evers over access


– DNR investigating western Wisconsin spill at frac-sand mine

– DNR investigating frac sand mine spill in Jackson County


– Tony Evers’ cabinet picks continue to work through committee process as they await confirmation from full Senate


– Ikon Hotel development on Milwaukee’s northwest side may get another $5 million loan from city

– Ikon hotel in central city could receive $5M more Milwaukee lending support

– RMB Capital combining Milwaukee-area offices at new Wauwatosa location

– Geneva Lake home sold for $4.6 million


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