World Stem Cell Summit Kicks Off in Madison

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The city of Madison, a crucial area for stem cell research, plays host to the 2008 World Stem Cell Summit Monday and Tuesday.

Stem-cell researchers, advocates and industry leaders will flock to Madison Sept. 22-23 for the 2008 World Stem Cell Summit, an event to inform the public of new developments in stem-cell research.

The Genetics Policy Institute, the University of Wisconsin Stem Cell
and Regenerative Medicine Center, and the WiCell Research Institute are
hosting the summit, which is being held at the Alliant Energy Center
and is expected to attract over 1,000 advocates.

“In many ways, they are really coming home to where it all started,
to Madison and to Wisconsin, which is the birthplace of stem-cell
research,” Gov. Jim Doyle said in a statement.

Madison is considered a leading city in stem-cell research, and last
November UW-Madison biologist James Thomson discovered a major
breakthrough when he found a way to make skin cells function like human
embryonic stem cells.

Thomson, Doyle and UW-Madison law professor Alta Charo will give keynote presentations during the summit.

Stem cell patent challenged

Consumer Watchdog, formerly known as the Foundation for Taxpayer
and Consumer Rights, and the Public Patent Foundation filed an appeal
with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Friday against its decision
to uphold a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation stem-cell patent.

The patent and two others held by WARF had been reviewed and upheld
by the patent office earlier this year after the two groups challenged
them in 2006. Two of the three patents—all based on Thomson’s
research—could not be appealed.

The appeal states that the patent office made two errors of law in
approving the patent, holding too high of standards in its review.

—Amanda Hoffstrom contributed to this report.

Consumer Watchdog
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