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Nov 29, 2011

Two-to-One Majority Differs with European Court Ruling Against Patenting hESCs

  • While Europe’s highest court recently ruled that stem cell research based on the destruction of human embryos is contrary to morality and cannot be patented, a nearly two-to-one majority of those who took our poll disagree. Sixty four percent sided with Oliver Brüstle, Ph.D., who since 2004 has fought a challenge from Greenpeace in trying to maintain a 1997 patent covering methods for deriving neural cells from hESCs. Of the respondents, 34% agreed with the court decision, while 5.7% were undecided.

    In its decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union sided with Greenpeace as well as arguments by its advocate general in ruling that: “An invention must be regarded as unpatentable, even if the claims of the patent do not concern the use of human embryos, where the implementation of the invention requires the destruction of human embryos.”

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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