Thursday, July 20, 2006

Paul Jacobs discusses Bush veto of stem cell bill

In discussing the Bush veto of the stem cell bill, Paul Jacobs stated of data sharing:

Another effect [of the veto] is more indirect. Science advances when researchers worldwide are able to pool their data and findings, but researchers in California using state funds who might have collaborated with scientists elsewhere doing federally funded research will not have that luxury.

First, under the Bayh-Dole Act, federally-funded scientists will create patent applications BEFORE they share their data publicly. Thus, they will be "roping off" their inventions BEFORE other researchers see the data. Second, although the intellectual property policy of CIRM is an incoherent and amorphous body, one expects that CIRM-funded scientists will also file patent applications BEFORE disclosing their data. Third, one notes the oddity of Jacobs' speaking of "researchers worldwide" but then limiting himself to "[U.S.]-federally funded researchers."

Jacobs also noted:

Dr. Irving Weissman, a stem-cell researcher and director of Stanford's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, agrees that the federal restrictions have impeded stem-cell work. He noted, for example, that analyzing the genes from new stem-cell lines cannot be done at federally funded facilities on the university campus.

Jacobs did not mention the problem of the NIH acquiring from MizMedi hospital, and then distributing, a post-2001 hESC stem cell line, and no one did a genetic analysis thereof. The problem was not "where" genes were analyzed, but whether they were analyzed at all.

Jacobs further stated:

Robert Klein, chairman of the committee that is overseeing spending of the state funding, describes Bush's decision as "tragic."

"We could get greater leverage out of our $3 billion if we were able to use federally funded facilities currently in place," said Klein, who led the effort to pass a stem-cell funding initiative in 2004.

Said Stanford Nobel laureate Paul Berg, a critic of the administration: "What many people don't understand is it is not just the money." Equipment and laboratory space supported with federal dollars cannot be used for research with the newer stem-cell lines, he said. That's why money directed toward research from California and other states "is not the whole answer."

Jacobs did not mention that Klein, in the last California primary election, lobbied against a certain candidate (Ortiz) and is lobbying for stem cell funding in other states.

Jacobs does not mention Hwang Woo-Suk in his article, and does not mention "where" the current state of the art in embryonic stem cell research is located.

[IPBiz post 1799]


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