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UC & Wisconsin file briefs in stem cell case

Both the State of Wisconsin and the University of California filed amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs on Tuesday in the stem cell case before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The Court is considering whether a lower court was wrong to issue a preliminary injunction halting stem cell research.

The University of California’s brief argues that the plaintiffs in the case, adult stem cell researchers James L. Sherley and Theresa A. Deisher, should not have standing in the case because grants are not issued to individual principal investigators. (It also advances other arguments that have been argued previously.)

Instead, grants are issued to institutions, such as MIT and the University of California (or Sherley’s workplace, the Boston Biomedical Research Institute).

“The principal investigator is not a party to the grant, does not control the grant, does not own the intellectual or tangible property developed under the grant, and does not administer the grant,” the University said.

The State of Wisconsin’s brief was filed jointly with the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research and the Genetics Policy Institute. It argues principally that the preliminary injunction significantly injured many parties, and that the balance of harms and the public interest were not in favor of halting stem cell research.

Both briefs, as well as most other filings in the case, are available at http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N47/stemcells/.

A reply brief from Sherley and Deisher is due to the court on Thursday, Oct. 28.

— John A. Hawkinson