Programs: Science and Policy
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
"Obstacles to Openness and Sharing in Stem Cell Science: Innovation, the Public Interest, and Recommendations for Next Steps"
The release of the Hinxton Group's latest Consensus Statement, and a panel discussion by members of the Hinxton Group
Monday, January 24, 2011
Space is limited, so please RSVP (affirmative only) by Friday, Jan. 21, to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line, please type "RSVP."
* Refreshments will be served 30 min. prior to the start of the program.
Obstacles to Openness and Sharing in Stem Cell Science
In November 2010, members of the Hinxton Group met to explore challenges in stem cell research raised by the increasing tension between fairly new and strong policies and practices governing ownership in science (e.g., patent rights, secrecy) and norms of openness and free exchange. Intellectual property rights (IPR) can bring private investment into areas underfunded by governments and help bridge gaps between scientific invention or discovery and useful technologies. Some new and emerging policies and practices intended to “protect” intellectual property or to appropriate financial benefits for private investors, however, risk slowing innovation in research and development (R&D). IPR in the form of patents, material transfer agreements, data access agreements and others can introduce transaction costs and delay into doing or applying research. And expectations of return on R&D investment may skew attention toward large markets, to the disadvantage of small markets, such as those for rare diseases and conditions affecting those in resource-poor regions. This is of concern, as one central goal of the life sciences is to improve global health: our shared humanity and the potential for biological knowledge to benefit all people create this obligation. Further, the self-regulatory structures within scientific communities, as much as the legal institutions we consciously erect for science, should be responsive to fairness and social justice as a goal. Hinxton Group experts reached consensus on a series of recommendations in response to these challenges. These will be the focus of the panel discussion.
The Hinxton Group
In 2004, members of the Stem Cell Policy and Ethics program (SCOPE) at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics began developing a new project, aspiring to bring together an esteemed, international and interdisciplinary group to explore the ethical and policy challenges of transnational scientific collaboration raised by variations in national regulations governing embryo research and stem cell science. While this project was originally planned as a single meeting in Hinxton, UK, the delegates, calling themselves the 'Hinxton Group' (www.hinxtongroup.org), decided that there were additional challenges they would be able and willing to address, and that this group should not dissolve. Coordinated by a US/UK steering committee, the Hinxton Group is an informal collection of individuals interested in ethical and well-regulated science.
The first Hinxton Group meeting in February 2006 focused on transnational cooperation in stem cell research and resulted in a Consensus Statement outlining a set of principled recommendations for how work in this area ought to proceed in the context of national variations in policy.
A meeting in April 2008 resulted in a second consensus statement that addressed the state of the science and the potential social implications of pluripotent stem cell-derived gametes and made recommendations to address the science, ethics and policy challenges raised by this research.
For more information on any of these meetings, please see www.hinxtongroup.org
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