The research behind the patent represents a real innovation and step forward for medical research. The human embryonic stem cells developed by WARF can be turned into over 200 different types of tissues. This makes the stem cell line very promising for future medical advances. Moreover, WARF has begun to liberalize its policies towards the patent. WARF allows academic institutions free access to their cell lines and has narrowed the scope of their patent to only include certain hESCs. This liberalization should make research more accessible to more institutions.
Unfortunately, the scope of this patent is still very broad, and the licensing demands of WARF are still very expensive. This has probably prevented many companies from pursuing embryonic stem cell research, and there have been a few examples of researchers moving overseas to escape WARF’s patents. Moreover, the precedence of this patent might provide a model for other companies to patent and monopolize other areas of biological life; this will most likely hurt scientific progress and limit a patient’s choice in medical testing and treatment.