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agreed to give up claims on rights to near-exclusive control of technology arising from the discovery of stem cells.

Menlo Park, Calif.,-based Geron agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the University of Wisconsin, from which Geron had bought the rights to commercialize the technology in 1999. Under the settlement, Geron retains exclusive rights to develop three types of stem cells: nerve, heart and pancreatic. It will have nonexclusive license on three other kinds: blood, cartilage and bone.

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Stem cells are primitive cells that can turn themselves into any of the 200 different types of cell in the body. Researchers say they have potential in developing treatments for diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's.