The Instigator
Yelton13
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Artemis299
Con (against)
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Patenting Cell Lines

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/10/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 463 times Debate No: 52192
Debate Rounds (5)
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Yelton13

Pro

Patenting Cell Lines is the private ownership of certain discovered, or created genes or cells from research. It can provide better use of these discovered genes or cells, According to Philip Leder, a Harvard Medical School doctor and scientist, patenting cell lines can give the research industry the funding it needs and the push from the private world that is needed to effectively help the public. Leder and his team at Harvard genetically altered mice eggs, half of the females died, while the other half proved to be significant subjects for the effects on mammals from breast cancer. This ground breaking study proves that private ownership of certain genes can provide more focused research and results. It can provide a more narrowed and powerful study.
Artemis299

Con

First things first. You stated in the first sentence that patenting cell lines is the ownership of discovered or created genes. That means if you discover a gene in someone"s body, you can patent it and technically own a part of a person. That"s not right especially if that person does not have any access to the money that is made off of that discovery. John Moore was one of the people who had certain cells of his patented. He participated in an interview that a woman named Beth Burrows wrote about in an article. The first thing he stated was "How does it feel to be patented? To learn all of a sudden, I was just a piece of material? There was a sense of betrayal" I mean, they owned a part of me that I could never recover." Moore"s cells were discovered when he went in to the doctors to get surgery on his spleen. He had an extremely enlarged spleen that he needed to get either removed or fixed. When his doctor was doing surgery, he ordered his assistant to remove specimens of Moore"s spleen for medical research. The doctor thought that the cells in Moore"s spleen could be made into an anti-cancer agent. Moore was forced to go in for a check-up every six to eight months though Moore had no idea why. He was given a paper to sign every time he went in until his last check-up. He was given another paper to sign, but this one was different. According to the article, it stated "(I do/I do not) give away all my rights and my heirs' and assigns' rights . . . to cell lines and anything else derived from this research." Moore circled "I do not" and he went home. When he got home he found that his mother had received several phone calls from his doctor saying that Moore had "mis-signed" the paper. He then received that same paper in the mail, only this time it had a sticker on it saying "please circle I Do." Because of the doctors" persistence in the matter, Moore did some research. He found out that the doctor wanted to patent cells called the "Mo" cells that he derived from a patient in Seattle. It was pretty obvious then. He tried to sue his doctor for the removal of his cells without his knowledge and then making financial gains from the cells that Moore received none of. The court ruled that it was wrong of the doctor to conduct research on the cells without informing the patient first but that the doctor was not wrong in not giving any of the money to Moore. The court said that Moore would be denied his propriety rights in this situation and would be denied his right to financial compensation. The cells turned out to make a profit of around three million dollars, none of which made its way to Moore.
It"s not right to put a patent on the cells of a person. That technically means that you own them. That"s unethical. It"s even worse when research is conducted without informing the patient first. The patient may have signed a consent form before the surgery but they had no clue what the consent was for. What if a patient didn"t want to have research done on their cells? What if it makes them feel like they have been violated? The patient should be given further information on what they are consenting for. Plus, if they do give consent, and it helps further medical research, creates new helpful medicines, they should receive at least a little bit of financial compensation because they are willing to let people basically own them. Without more information, and financial compensation, doctors should not be allowed to patent cell lines despite what the medical and scientific benefits may be.
Debate Round No. 1
Yelton13

Pro

Yelton13 forfeited this round.
Artemis299

Con

Ethicist George Annas comments on the novel Outrageous Fortune. He says "If human cells are to be profited from, the person from whom these cells derive should have at least as much standing to own and profit from their commercial exploration." Annas believes that it is unethical to patent a cell that came from the body of a living person, without giving them any compensation from the profit that the cells make. He also says that there is a threat against these people, because scientists and the government believe that the people can't interfere with such a thing, because the need to conduct research to promote science is at it's peak. Many people who have gone through this same thing have made multiple comments about these patents. They say having their cells patented without compensation is sort of like rape. Annas states " In a sense, you've been violated for money. They have a patent on your material. If you want to share it, you can't do that. Your genetic essence is held captive." Annas understands the ethnical problems behind patenting cell lines. Not a lot of people do though. Most people don't even know what it is let alone that it exists, so that have no idea that they need to talk to their doctors before surgeries to know just what they are going up against. Patenting cell lines is completely deranged and unethical and it should stop entirely.
Debate Round No. 2
Yelton13

Pro

It is agreeable to give financial compensation to the person who's cells are being researched, but it is all up to the patient as to if it is a violation. Even if the doctor did send a from that said, "please circle yes," he could have circled no again, because in the end, it is ultimately the patients decision on whether or not their cells get researched. If they don't want for their cells to be used, and in this case, exploited, they don't have to consent. The law states that if the patient does not give consent, then it would be illegal. Also, I agree that the patients should be financially compensated for their cells' profit, however the scientific community needs the research for these ground breaking discoveries. It would help the rest of the world with uncured diseases and diseases that aren't even fully understood at this point. This could help the world better understand the medical field and ways to make life easier for all mankind.
Artemis299

Con

I agree that it is up to the patient to decide if it is a violation. But no one has ever heard about anyone who didn't feel violated. John Moore made himself entirely clear when he stated that he felt that he was violated and deserved compensation. Henrietta Lacks never got the chance to say whether or not she felt violated but her family most definitely did. A tribe in New Guinea said that they felt violated when they had their cell patented. So tell me, who didn't feel violated? Who said "I had surgery where my doctor took some of my cells without my knowledge, patented them, made millions off of them, but I don't care it's all in the name of science?" No one in their right mind would say something like that. Also, the doctor may have sent the patient a form and asked them to circle yes. I can see the reasoning behind that. But you state that it's illegal to do something without consent. Patients may give consent before the surgery and not even know what that consent is needed for. In cases like this, the law can't do anything and it's not illegal. Next, I understand that the scientific community needs this research, but they can do the research and still compensate the patient for allowing them to do so. I get that medical research can help with breakthroughs when it comes to diseases but there is absolutely no reason why the patient who allowed medical research to take place should not receive a part of the profit that was made from their own cells.
Debate Round No. 3
Yelton13

Pro

Yelton13 forfeited this round.
Artemis299

Con

Artemis299 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Yelton13

Pro

Yelton13 forfeited this round.
Artemis299

Con

Artemis299 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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