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Stem Cell Action Alert

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    Stem Cell Action Alert

    Don't know if this has come across anyone's radar screen, but it hit mine today so thought i would inform the community. Washington in action again!

    Stem Cell Action Alert


    As the Congressional Year Comes to A Close,
    A Harmful Intellectual Property Amendment Has
    Passed In The House of Representatives Leaving
    Research Under Attack.

    On July 23rd, the House passed an amendment on human patenting offered by Dave Weldon (R-FL) as part of the Commerce-Justice-State, and Judiciary Appropriations bill (H.R. 2799). The future of biomedical research could
    be impaired by this mischievous amendment. Specifically, House Amendment 286 would prohibit the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) from issuing any "patents on claims directed to or encompassing a human organism."
    Urge your Senator to oppose the amendment should it come up during debate on the Senate floor and to strike this language from any final Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary (CJS) Appropriations bill. It is especially
    important that you take the time to write your Senator if he or she is a CJS Conferee.

    CJS Conferees
    Judd Gregg (R-NH)
    Ted Stevens (R-AK)
    Pete Domenici (R-NM)
    Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
    Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)
    Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)
    Sam Brownback (R-KS)

    Ernest Hollings (D-SC)
    Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
    Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
    Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    Herb Kohl (D-WI)
    Patty Murray (D-WA)

    The amendment would forbid the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) from granting patents on processes and products derived from embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer),
    which could slow or halt biomedical research aimed at providing cures and treatments for the millions of Americans suffering from cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries, heart disease, ALS, and other
    debilitating conditions. It appears to be an underhanded way of making the U.S. surrender its leadership role in the development of life-saving cures using stem cell research, somatic cell nuclear transfer, and other technologies.
    By prohibiting patent rights, this amendment removes any financial incentive for companies to undertake this type of economically risky research. Talking points are listed below. Please call or write your Senator today.

    Opponents of vital research technologies should not amend the patent laws to enforce their ideological agenda. Had no patents been issued for recombinant DNA, research in this important area would surely have stopped. The
    same could hold true for new areas of important research. Moreover, this amendment was offered without an opportunity for the Committee on the Judiciary, which has jurisdiction on patent matters, to review what impact this
    amendment might have on medical research developments.

    Message points for your call/letter:

    The language is vague, overly broad and would jeopardize many human-derived biotechnology inventions. Among the biotech inventions that would be placed in jeopardy are: stem cells and stem cell
    production methods, all cell and tissue therapy products and methods that include creating replacement tissue and organs, and methods for therapeutic cloning.

    The language "encompassing a human organism" creates uncertainty about the PTO's definition of a "human organism." There is no clear indication for where something ceases to be human and becomes
    something else. Would a method of making human stem cells for therapeutic purposes be considered a claim that "encompasses" a human organism?

    Investment and research into developing biotechnology products would halt if the amendment were enacted into law. It takes 10 to 12 years and approximately 800 million dollars to bring a biotechnology
    product into the market. Investors need assurance that their investment in this risky endeavor will eventually pay off. Without intellectual property protection on products developed through biotechnology, investors would not
    place resources into inventions that cannot be protected by the patent system.

    Current PTO practice prevents patenting of human beings. Current PTO practice prohibits patents on subject matter that includes a human being within its scope.

    Revising patent laws in order to deal with ethical concerns can have serious long-term implications for all industry sectors. Revision of the patent laws to exclude one subject area from patent eligibility can
    lead to other types of exclusions. For example, opening up the Patent Act could open the door to excluding patents on virtually any item or industrial product.

    For more information, please visit our Web site,