U of Wisconsin Fights Geron Corp Over Stem Cells

MADISON, Wisc-University of Wisconsin officials say talks Geron Corp. concerning stem cell research have broken down. Now, the university is broadening a lawsuit against the company in an attempt to protect their embryonic stem cell lines research.

University of Wisconsin scientist James Thomspon was the first person to isolate and grow human embryonic stem cells. His discovery in 1998 began a controversial new field of medicine that continues to incite arguments from the Capitol to churches nationally.

Geron, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in telemerase, human embryonic stem cells, and nuclear transfer, financed the majority of the initial research at the university. Company officials want exclusive rights to the research products developed using the stem cells, while university officials say that request goes against their licensing agreement. Instead, university officials say Geron should have rights only those products that were created using their own patented technologies.

Embryonic stem cells have been called the building blocks of life. These cells can be manipulated genetically to produce specialized cells that could repair organs and are expected to be the cure for many genetic diseases. Controversy surrounds their development and harvesting because the cells are taken from human embryos.

Officials at Geron had no comment surrounding the university's continued legal action.

For more information about Menlo Park, Calif. based Geron, Corp., log onto: www.geron.com. For more information about the University of Wisconsin, log onto: www.wisc.edu.

Information from www.sfgate.com