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Recommendations issued to counter patent, proprietary barriers to sharing stem cell data
Date:1/24/2011

WASHINGTON An international group of stem cell scientists, bioethicists and experts in law and public policy called urgently today for specific measures designed to counter secrecy and self interest. The recommended measures focus on the sharing of data, materials and collective management of intellectual property related to stem cells.

In a consensus statement, the Hinxton Groupso named for the British city where members first met in 2006lists five recommendations about data and materials sharing in a field in which patenting and other proprietary claims threaten to slow progress and steer the focus toward big profits rather than advancing public health.

"Progress in human pluripotent stem cell science has been incredibly rapid over the last 12 to 13 years," says Debra Mathews Ph.D., assistant director for science programs at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and a member of the Hinxton Group's steering committee.

"The science has moved so fast that there hasn't been much opportunity for the field to develop or reflect on norms or standards for sharing data and materials," Mathews adds, "or to engage in the sorts of collective action now needed in the field to allow both basic and translational science to move forward, and for society to see benefits in the form of new therapies and treatments."

The Hinxton Groupformed by the Berman Institute's Stem Cell Policy and Ethics Programissued its recommendations today at a panel discussion about obstacles to openness in stem cell science. The event, held at the headquarters for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was co-hosted by the bioethics institute and AAAS.

Mathews says the "concrete and actionable" steps called for in the statement require the concerted effort of researchers and their institutions, funders, members of industry and government agencies.

The group's recommendations are to:

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Contact: Michael Pena
mpena@jhsph.edu
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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