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Europe rejects stem cell patent

The European Patent Office (EPO) issued its final ruling last week rejecting a much-contested embryonic stem cell patent -- a decision that will likely be cheered by researchers and jeered by biotechs. The patent covered technology developed by linkurl:James Thomson,;http://ink.primate.wisc.edu/~thomson/ a University of Wisconsin researcher, to culture primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. In last week's ruling, the EPO upheld a previous decision, made last summer,

By | December 1, 2008

The European Patent Office (EPO) issued its final ruling last week rejecting a much-contested embryonic stem cell patent -- a decision that will likely be cheered by researchers and jeered by biotechs. The patent covered technology developed by linkurl:James Thomson,;http://ink.primate.wisc.edu/~thomson/ a University of Wisconsin researcher, to culture primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. In last week's ruling, the EPO upheld a previous decision, made last summer, that rejected the patent. Earlier this year the US Patent Office upheld this patent, in addition to two others dealing with derivation and replication of embryonic stem cells in culture. The three patents, filed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1995, were reexamined, beginning in October, 2006, when challenges were brought by the Public Patent Foundation in New York and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) in Los Angeles. The two organizations argued that the patents impede stem cell research, and that other researchers before Thomson had developed the technology. In linkurl:a statement;http://www.epo.org/topics/news/2008/20081127.html from the EPO regarding the current decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeals said that under the European Patent Convention, "it is not possible to grant a patent for an invention which necessarily involves the use and destruction of human embryos." "I can imagine there will be sighs of relief," Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem cell biology and developmental genetics at the National Institute for Medical Research, told the linkurl:Guardian.;http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/nov/27/embryonic-stem-cells-patent "There are going to be lots of other biotech companies interested in either applications for the cells or deriving products from the cells, or using the cells in screening methodology." However, some said the decision could be a setback for biotech companies involved in developing embryonic stem cell technology. The EPO ruling could apply to some 200 other pending patent applications in Europe, linkurl:PharmaTimes reported.;http://www.pharmatimes.com/WorldNews/article.aspx?id=14845 However, the EPO ruling did state that the decision did not apply in general to the patentability of human stem cells. David Earp, chief patent counsel for Geron -- a stem cell biotech with several pending patent applications in Europe -- told PharaTimes that he his confident the ruling only applies to WARF patents and the agency will move quickly to address Geron's remaining applications. Related stories: linkurl:Stem cell patents final in US, debated in Europe;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54772/ linkurl:Stem cell patents upheld;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54419/ linkurl:USPTO upholds stem cell patent;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54389/ linkurl:WARF stem cell patents challenged;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/25037/

Comments

Avatar of: Sergio Stagnaro

Sergio Stagnaro

Posts: 59

December 1, 2008

In my opinion,in all studies and practical utilizations of stem cells until now there is a fundamental bias I have already emphasized, also in www.nature.com, (e.g., http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080822/full/news.2008.1060.html?q=2#last-comment http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080604/full/news.2008.875.html?q=2#last-comment) Really, we all agree with considering stem cells as the therapy of future. As a consequence, all around the world, scientists are working on the possible utilization of these cells, in spite of their origin. However, we have to pay great attention to the FACT that every stem cell, including human blood progenitor cell, (not red blood cells, i.e., erythrocytes, which are lacking DNA!)is furnished by both n-DNA and mit-DNA, and thus, from biophysical-semeiotic constitutions view-point, such as cell can transmitt the related predisposition to diseases,if there is the Inherited Constitution-dependent Real Risk, I discovered: diabetes, arteriosclerosis (CAD), osteoporosis,cancer, a.s.o. As I referred formerly (e.g., http://blogs.nature.com/reports/theniche/2008/04/ stemcell_skin_creams_a_san_die.html#comments) before using stem cells in whatever disorders, scientists have to know perfectly biophysical-semeiotic constitutions of stem cell donors, to avoid they may bring about other possibly more dangerous or severe disorders (See also my earlier comment on Washington Post website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/comments/ display?contentID=AR2007041101736&start=41 .
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

December 2, 2008

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Mettler Toledo
Mettler Toledo
Life Technologies