Saturday, November 01, 2014

Further discussion of WARF stem cell patent, US 7,029,913

A headline in the Los Angeles Times Can scientists patent life? The question returns to the Supreme Court mis-states the issue of the case, which in fact is one of standing to bring a case. The post begins

The thorny and unresolved question of whether life itself can be patented may come again before the U.S. Supreme Court, if it accepts a motion filed Friday [Oct. 31] by Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog. (H/T to David Jensen's California Stem Cell Report.)

The three claims of WARF's US '913 are

1. A replicating in vitro cell culture of human embryonic stem cells comprising cells which (i) are capable of proliferation in in vitro culture for over one year without the application of exogenous leukemia inhibitory factor, (ii) maintain a karyotype in which the chromosomes are euploid through prolonged culture, (iii) maintain the potential to differentiate to derivatives of endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm tissues throughout the culture, and (iv) are inhibited from differentiation when cultured on a fibroblast feeder layer.

2. The preparation of claim 1, wherein the stem cells will spontaneously differentiate to trophoblast and produce chorionic gonadotropin when cultured to high density.

3. The preparation of claim 1 wherein the cells are negative for the SSEA-1 marker, positive for the SSEA-4 marker, and express alkaline phosphatase.


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