Tribal cells

2019-02-27 06:18:06

A CONTROVERSIAL patent on a line of cells taken from a Papua New Guinea tribesman has been withdrawn. In the early 1990s, Carol Jenkins of the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research developed the cell line from blood samples drawn from a member of the Hagahai tribe. He was infected with a variant of the retrovirus HTLV-1 which, unusually, did not cause leukaemia. The researchers hoped that studies of the cells would lead to new ways to fight the virus. The US National Institutes of Health, which funded Jenkins’s work, filed a patent application. Critics, led by a group called Rural Advancement Foundation International based in Ontario, Canada,