Friday, October 13, 2006

Stem Cell Snippets: From WARF to Researcher Conflicts

Here are some tidbits and links to some interesting news items, press releases or other material concerning California stem call issues.

WARF -- "The recent out-of-state challenges, including one from California, to stem cell patents held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) lack merit and underscore the need for serious patent reform in the United States," says patent attorney Grady Frenchick. In a piece on the Wisconsin Technology Network, he says the challenges are politically motivated. .

Bonds -- CIRM has no plans to sell $1 billion in general obligation debt next year even if it overcomes court challenges, Reuters reports.

Attorney General's Race -– Patient activist Karen Miner pens piece endorsing Jerry Brown for California attorney general, saying his opponent is anti-stem cell research.

Salaries – In response to a request from the California Stem Cell Report, CIRM released the following salaries for the latest hires at CIRM: Lorraine Hoffman, chief finance and administrative officer, $190,000, and Marcia Davey, interim financial officer, $142,000.

Disclosure -– Ivan Oransky, deputy editor of The Scientist, writes in the Boston Globe on the need for more disclosure from scientists. "A survey published in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics of clinical researchers' attitudes on conflicts of interest included this mind-boggling response: 'Let's say . . . we do a dozen studies for [Company X] . . . and it is a $2 billion company. . . Let's say that I owned a lot of stock in [Company X]. I mean, the application of a new drug to the company, let alone our ability to participate in that drug, would not affect that one iota. So, as far as I am concerned, conflict of interest is overblown.' Message received: Researchers know best. Please stop bothering us with these silly rules and your sensationalist investigations."

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