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For all those who were waiting with bated breath for the first ever Human Embryonic stem cell (HESC) phase I clinical trials to begin, well there’s good news. On the 30th of July 2010, the US based Geron Corporation announced the FDA’s approval to its HESC based clinical trials in humans. The announcement comes after a year-long set-back to the proposed trials, after the company discovered during some of its tests that the rats treated with the stem cell line developed cysts. This set off a spate of further tests to ensure efficacy and safety of the therapy. After a year, the company seems to have effectively allayed fears of tumorigenicity and has obtained a green signal from the US FDA and will be beginning the first human trials of Human Embryonic stem cell therapy in the world.

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The District Court Judge of the Southern District of New York, Judge Robert Sweet will go down in History. Amidst much speculation and debate, the Judge, on March 29th 2010, ruled in the case of Association for

Judge Robert Sweet

Judge Robert Sweet

Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, that the patents For BRCA1 and BRCA2 held by the company Myriad Genetics, were invalid. The decision was a highly anticipated one since this particular lawsuit has been hailed by many as being a direct attack on the company and the USPTO (The United States Patent and Trademarks Office). The issue of gene patenting has always been a controversial one and there have been heated debates for and against it. However, in recent times, we have seen with increasing unease, the extent to which essential health care testing, diagnostics and even treatments have slowly but steadily passed the truly needy patients by because of prohibitively high costs and monopolistic trade practices by many such companies in the name of millions of dollars sunk into research for the same.

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