Monday, May 14, 2007

One stupid Stanford study on Proposition 71 is enough!

A press release on May 14, 2007 includes the text:

Longaker worked with Laurence Baker, PhD, associate professor of health research and policy, and Henry Greely, JD, professor of law, to think about all the ways that Californians could benefit from the results of stem cell research. Although the scenario they examined — a reduction in the severity of the disease — may not be the cure that voters hoped for when they voted yes, the benefits of even partial cures or postponing the onset of disease could be profound, according to the group.

In their hypothetical example, the researchers assumed a stem cell-based treatment for juvenile diabetes that reduced the “disease burden” by half. That means the people with the disease would be half as sick, have half the long-term repercussions of the disease such as blindness or kidney failure, and be essentially twice as healthy as people living with the disease today.

IPBiz wonders if the next Stanford study will be on the topic of genetic evaluation and screening, a more likely outcome of embryonic stem cell research on the ten year horizon and one less hyperbolic than discussed with California voters. As more Proposition 71 money is spent, will we see an ever-continuing decline in expectations for benefits from that money?

IPBiz had previously discussed shortcomings with Baker's earlier study.

One could certainly paraphrase Justice Holmes here: two generations of overly-optimistic forecasts are enough. Tell Californians the most likely outcome of Proposition 71, rather than feeding them academic gobbledygook. [Recall Justice Scalia's comment on the CAFC TSM test: "This is gobbledygook. It really is. It's irrational."]

See also:

Note also that the 2 May 2007 issue of Nature has discussion on patents covering methods for making embryonic stem cells from primates, including humans, developed by James Thomson, currently being re-examined by the USPTO. It's not clear that Baker factored in the Thomson patents in his initial forecast for Proposition 71.

**UPDATE on May 31.

The above IPBiz post was published on May 14, 2007.

On May 24, biopolitical times had a post, "Whichever way the wind blows," which discusses the recent Baker report; the post by Jesse Reynolds includes the text:

What's remarkable is not its actual content, which for the most part is limited to vague outlines and statements of the obvious. It's what's missing.

There’s no reference to the over-the-top – yet widely-cited – optimistic scenarios spun in an economic analysis that was widely touted, and funded, by the campaign to establish the state program.

IPBiz notes that a more realistic expectation is NOTHING from patent royalties within the first ten years. For a discussion of issues, see 88 JPTOS 239. Separately, even thoughts of a "reduction in severity of disease" are predicated on some treatment being developed, which is also unlikely on a ten year timetable. It's sad that Baker neglected to talk about what he PREVIOUSLY said, but it is also important to note that what he is saying PRESENTLY is STILL unrealistic.


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