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Exploring the Current Debate Over Patenting Life (Part 2)

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Date and time
Friday, January 28, 2011

In part two of the Exploring the Current Debate Over Patenting Life symposium, panelists discuss the role of patents in the development of adult stem cell-based therapies. The symposium addresses the ongoing legal debate that surrounds patents on potentially therapeutic biomedical technologies, including gene patents. The symposium considers how other disciplines, including bioethics and economics, might help to inform the development of novel laws addressing the unique issues arising from the debate. The symposium includes a lecture discussing the role patents have played in spurring the innovation of adult stem cell-based therapies, as well as a presentation on genetic testing and the impact patents have had on patient access to new biomedical technologies.

Harshita Gupta is a Master’s degree candidate in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University. She is pursuing research on the molecular mechanism of hearing, working in the lab of Brian McDermott, PhD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology. Ms. Gupta is studying the localization of the deafness gene, PMCA2, in the hair cells of the inner ear. The Biology department awarded her a full tuition scholarship, to pursue her graduate studies and teach as a biology laboratory instructor. She earned an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, first class with distinction, from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering in Chennai, India. Before coming to Case Western, Ms. Gupta was awarded two internships: one at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, where she studied the role of Orexin, a neuropeptide brain hormone, in diabetes, and another at the Genetic Counseling Center in Bangalore, India.
Arnold Caplan, Ph.D. is Professor of Biology and the Director of the Skeletal Research Center at Case Western Reserve University. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Caplan did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Anatomy at Johns Hopkins University, followed by Postdoctoral Fellowships at Brandeis University with Dr. N.O. Kaplan and Dr. E. Zwilling. He joined the Case Western Reserve University Biology faculty in 1969, becoming a full Professor in 1981. His awards include the Elizabeth Winston Lanier Award given by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Kappa Delta Awards Program (1990), the Marshall R. Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research from the Orthopaedic Research Society (1999), and the Genzyme Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Cartilage Repair Society (2007). He was Visiting Professor in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School (1973) and Edna and Jacob Michael Visiting Professor of Biophysics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel (1984). In 1976 Prof. Caplan was in the Laboratory of Pierre Chambon at the Institute de Chimie Biologique, Faculty of Medicine de Strasbourg. A national and international scholar focusing on experimentation in musculoskeletal and skin development, he has trained over 125 researchers and published over 350 papers and manuscripts. His pioneering research on Mesenchymal Stem Cells has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and other non-profit and for-profit agencies.