Professor Martin Pera, Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia and Chair of Stem Cell Sciences at the University of Melbourne, raised concerns about the European Union Court of Justice ruling on patenting embryonic stem cells and the potential implications the decision may have on stem cell research and delivery of new therapies.
"The decision yesterday by the European Union Court of Justice will slow or halt the translation of advances in stem cell research into treatments for patients.
Though the ruling does not affect Australia directly, we have to recognize that progress in this field depends on international collaboration, particularly in clinical trials. European stem cell scientists are leaders in the field, and everyone will suffer if there are barriers to such collaboration.
Engagement of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors is critical to bringing stem cell therapies to the clinic. Such engagement depends on the ability to protect intellectual property.
Clinical trials of cell therapeutics derived from embryonic stem cells are already underway in the United States for spinal cord injury and macular degeneration, and more are on the way. These trials depend on private sector investment and technological capability. The ruling will make it very difficult to pursue similar work in Europe."
Listen to an interview with Professor Pera on SBS RADIO NEWS 21 October 2011