Monday, March 26, 2007

LA Times Piece on CHA RMI Has Response from Researcher

The Los Angeles Times Monday ran its story concerning CHA RMI and its $2.6 million California stem cell grant, including a statement from the main researcher on the project.

The Times story was picked up the KNBC television station in Los Angeles, which did not add any new information to the account.

The Times piece by reporter Mary Engel began by noting that the grant went to a research center whose founding president is "embroiled in an international dispute over authorship of a medical journal article." Then it listed the ethical allegations concerning an associated fertility clinic.

Engel's story also had this from the researcher involved:
"In an e-mail to The Times, the lead scientist for the grant, Jang-Won Lee, said he was not involved in any of the allegations. The research, he said, will undergo thorough scientific and ethical review, and is aimed at developing therapies for a devastating neurodegenerative disease."
She also had this quote from John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Consumer and Taxpayer Rights, concerning the secrecy involved in the grant review process.
"'Had everyone known that a grant was being discussed to that organization, things would have gone slower and questions would have been raised then.'"
We have a query into CHA for a response on the issues that have been raised and have promised that we will run it verbatim when we receive it.

For previous items on this see: "Grant Recipient," "Little Notice" and "CHA Example." Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

  1. Leaving aside any issues with K.Y. Cha, the last sentence of the LA Times piece is of relevance to discussion about "cures from embryonic stem cell research." The last sentence says: "The CHA proposal would use a patient with Lou Gehrig's disease as a donor, thus creating a line of stem cells with the disease that could be used to study it and test treatments." In other words, the CHA proposal, if fully implemented, will yield a research tool TO TEST OTHER TREATMENTS. In itself, it is not a treatment and not a cure.

    Those in the patent realm remember the case of the University of Rochester v. Searle. Rochester did develop a research tool of relevance to COX-2 inhibitors. It could TEST something to see if it was a COX-2 inhibitor. Rochester got a patent for a method of treatment using COX-2 inhibitors and immediately asserted the patent against a company, Searle, that actually had made a COX-2 inhibitor that actually was used to treat people. Millions of dollars were spent in litigation. Rochester, of course, lost on summary judgment. In a final twist, it was learned that certain COX-2 inhibitors were dangerous to patients, and that this information had been known BEFORE one COX-2 inhibitor (VIOXX) went to market.

    "Research tools" can be valuable. As to Dr. Lee, one should ask whether Dr. Lee himself has any links to a profit-making entity (whether in the past, present, or foreseeably in the future) that will economically benefit from the results of the research.