Commentary: isolated stem cells--patentable as cultural artifacts?

Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)

PubMedID: 17347494

Hansson MG, Helgesson G, Wessman R, Jaenisch R. Commentary: isolated stem cells--patentable as cultural artifacts?. Stem Cells. 2007;25(6):1507-10.
This article argues that an isolated embryonic stem cell basically represents a cultural artifact that has no equivalent to cells of the embryo, and that it is likely that the isolation of adult stem cells has a similar consequence. An isolated stem cell could thus be distinguished as something other than the stem cell existing as part of a human body. Since isolation of stem cells implies modification, product patents should, where the results carry enough novelty, inventive step, and potential for industrial application, as a matter of principle be a viable option for patent authorities. Questions of morality, which may affect the patentability, should also be viewed in light of the distinction between isolated result and body part. At the same time, it is essential that patent authorities do not accept broad patent claims that will be detrimental to research. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.