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GEN News Highlights : 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.”