. "4. Opportunities for and Barriers to Progress in Stem Cell Research for Regenerative Medicine." Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.
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Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine
entails substantial costs to duplicate infrastructure, equipment, and personnel (Gulbrandsen, 2001), and such measures may not be feasible for many academic institutions.
Another issue is that confining the research effort to a small number of entities may diminish the rate of discovery and knowledge development. As discussed at the workshop by Arti Rai, the history of scientific innovation strongly indicates that basic research and its applications are best developed by multiple entities pursuing a variety of research questions. She gave examples from the automobile, aircraft, radio, and semiconductor industries, which went through a stage of development during which progress was slow in large part due to the fact that many of the key technologies were held exclusively by individual companies and not widely accessible. It was only when the companies agreed to share their interdependent technologies that progress accelerated. In general, during periods of dominance by a single entity with monopoly control over crucial patents, scientific and technological development can be impeded.
In contrast, public funding of basic biomedical research has historically resulted in the results of the research being widely available to other scientists. Publicly funded researchers typically publish their research results in scientific journals, and this mechanism for information exchange can stimulate progress. (See also next section.) Even patenting of publicly funded research need not be a deterrent to progress if such patented research is licensed with terms that enable broad dissemination of the patented research. A notable example is the Cohen-Boyer patent on the recombinant-DNA technique, which emerged from public funding and was held by the University of California, San Francisco, and by Stanford University. Those institutions licensed the research widely at reasonable rates, and many analysts attribute the successful evolution of recombinant-DNA technology to those licensing arrangements. Arti Rai believes that the traditional academic focus on the importance of wide dissemination of fundamental knowledge has encouraged universities to shy away from exclusive licensing of the most fundamental research. Although never exercised, the Bayh-Dole Act contains a provi-