European Court of Justice Rules Embryonic Stem Cell Research Not Patentable
October 19, 2011 9:47 AM
comment(s) - last by
European scientists worry that their research will instead flourish overseas
Embryonic stem cells have shown that they could eventually be
very useful in the treatment
of a range of currently incurable diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. But such research may be threatened, or even halted, in Europe due to a recent court decision.
Embryonic stem cells have the ability to transform into any human body tissue. For instance, earlier this year, the
first eye was grown
from embryonic stem cells in mice. But to grow these tissues, stem cells must be removed from a human embryo at the blastocyst stage, which destroys the embryo, and this has raised ethical questions regarding the process.
Greenpeace in Germany triggered a lawsuit saying that it is unethical to issue a patent based on stem cells from a human embryo that is destroyed afterward.
The Court of Justice, Europe's highest court, ruled in favor of the group. The ruling focused on a technique involving the conversion of human ambryonic stem cells into nerve cells.
"The use of human embryos for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes which are applied to the human embryo and are useful to it is patentable," said the European Court of Justice. "But their use for purposes of scientific research is not patentable. A process which involves removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst stage, entailing the destruction of that embryo, cannot be patented."
The decision has many European researchers outraged. This ruling could either halt
stem cell research
in Europe or send it overseas.
"This unfortunate decision by the court leaves scientists in a ridiculous position," said Professor Austin Smith of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge. "We are funded to do research for the public good, yet prevented from taking our discoveries to the marketplace where they could be developed into new medicines. One consequence is that the benefits of our research will be reaped in America and Asia."
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Here is a better summary...
10/19/2011 11:45:15 AM
So to reply to my own post, this is NOT an issue akin to merely finding a gene and patenting it, but is akin to finding a gene and then developing a novel way to turn it into something else that is useful (in this case turning a stem cell into a nerve cell).
This is closer to a moral issue than some are leading on here in the comments.
"DailyTech is the best kept secret on the Internet." -- Larry Barber
Stem Cell Technique Produces Colonies of Blood Cells from Patient's Existing Cells
July 18, 2011, 10:15 AM
First Eye Grown from Embryonic Stem Cells in Mice
April 7, 2011, 9:22 AM
Researchers Announce First Clinical Trial for Stem Cell Therapy
October 12, 2010, 10:19 AM
Commercial Drones to Get Privacy Guidelines Via Executive Order
July 25, 2014, 5:34 PM
Pentagon's Priciest Project, F-35, Misses International Debut
July 25, 2014, 10:18 AM
Temple University Researchers Hit the Delete Button on HIV, Remove it from Human Cells
July 22, 2014, 7:39 AM
Airbus Shows Off All-Electric E-Fan 2.0 Airplane, Plans Production in 2017
July 21, 2014, 9:29 AM
Buzz Aldrin Says First Astronauts to Set Foot on Mars Should Never Return Home
July 9, 2014, 9:46 AM
Women May Soon Be Able to Control Their Fertility via Remote Control
July 7, 2014, 10:14 AM
Most Popular Articles
JJ Abrams Unveils X-Wing Starfighter for New "Star Wars" Movie
July 21, 2014, 12:24 PM
Ford Details ’15 F-150’s 325hp, 2.7L EcoBoost V6; Demonstrates 732-lb Weight Loss
July 22, 2014, 6:55 PM
Comcast Memo: Harassing Customers During Retention Calls Actually IS Our Policy
July 22, 2014, 5:19 PM
Kindle Fire Phone Review Roundup -- A Solid "Meh"
July 23, 2014, 2:09 PM
Motorola Moto G Successor Reportedly Uncovered, Moto X Discounted by up to $75
July 21, 2014, 1:11 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information