Stem Cells, Patents and Ethics
DOI link for Stem Cells, Patents and Ethics
Stem Cells, Patents and Ethics book
Stem cells can be thought of as an elixir for the 21st century. They promise cures for so many different ailments but there is very little concrete evidence at the stage that they are going to work. Nevertheless, commercial interests clearly believe that stem cells are going to be ‘big’. Embryonic stem cells are isolated from the early embryo stage known as the blastocyst. The most widely used are embryonic germ cells isolated from the developing gonadal tissues of the foetus and neural stem cells, which can be isolated from foetal brain and are under investigation as possible treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. The award in Europe of patents associated with stem cells has been slowed down at least in part because of the ethical exclusion from patentability incorporated into the European Biotechnology Directive of 1998. Patent Offices will be required to make fine ethical judgments without the benefit of advice of suitably qualified ethicists.