Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in favor of two consumer groups that had challenged a patent involving embryonic stem cell research held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Critics have said that the patent, along with several others held by WARF, restricts the progress of science. We'll find out more.
We'll also get an update on the issue of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Slightly over a year ago, President Obama signed an executive order directing the government to change its policies regarding the funding of embryonic stem cell research. Under rules put in place by President Bush, federal funding for embryonic stem cell work was limited to research involving 23 stem cell lines that had already been created. At the time, many scientists hoped that the Obama order would make more lines available to researchers. However, difficulty in meeting some of the informed consent rules and other ethical guidelines set forth by the 2009 order have prevented many lines from being made available. We'll take a look at the current state of science -- and policy -- in the field of stem cell research.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer