Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle held a press conference this afternoon on why Wisconsin is way more than cheese.  Announcing that the Genetics Policy Institute picked Wisconsin as the host of the World Stem Cell Summit 2008, Gov. Doyle laid out how the state is on pace in building the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference in San Diego.

The Institutes are twin institutes, one public and one private, to be constructed in the heart of the UW–Madison campus as a hub for interdisciplinary research.  These will be the largest outside the coasts in the U.S. and they represent a potential $5 billion opportunity for Wisconsin.

When asked how any new administration would impact stem cell research and commercialization, Gov. Doyle said that both candidates have indicated that they will broaden stem cell research.  The governor predicted that Sen. Barack Obama, if elected, would totally lift the ban on stem cell research and that either candidate would likely make critical research available and set strong ethical rules for development.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would assure that any recipient institutions operate under the correct scientific and ethical standards.

“I don’t think we’ll see another false, arbitrary standard where limits on research are based on the date the president happened to give a speech, ” said Gov. Doyle.  He indicated that science, not politics, should set the standards.

It was three up and three down for the as rejected the claims of its patents on human embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells, as their name suggests, are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro. Embryonic stem cells possess two properties that make them valuable for cell therapy. First, because embryonic stem cells are at a very early developmental stage (pluripotent), they retain the ability to become any one of the more than 200 cell types that make up the human body. A second feature of embryonic stem cells is their ability to remain in an undifferentiated state and to divide indefinitely.

Earlier, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced it would re-examine patents covering embryonic stem cell discoveries made by University of Wisconsin researchers. The patents, US Pat. Nos. 5,843,780, 6,200,806, and 7,029,913, cover all embryonic stem cell research in the U.S. and are owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

WARF has made free licenses and cells available to more than 300 academic research groups but charges companies $75,000 to $400,000, depending on their size and the terms of the license.  WARF also claims royalties from products produced using the patents.

Now, if only we could figure out why Wisconsin is called the Badger State.

See related items here:
Ding! WARF Wins Round 2 As Stem Cell Patent Upheld
WARF Stem Cell Patents Knocked Down in Round One

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One Comment

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    “Badger State” has nothing to do with the animal. It’s a name that goes back to the 1800s. It pays homage to the lead miners who mimicked badgers by holing up for the winter in underground shelters in the southwestern part of the state.

    Michael
    Madison WI