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Battle Over Gene Patenting Rages On

The case challenging the right of a healthcare company to patent cancer genes may make it all the way to the US Supreme Court.

By | October 18, 2011

Last Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced it intends to take the case against Myriad Genetics—a Utah-based healthcare company—all the way up to the US Supreme Court. The ACLU, along with its co-plaintiff, the Public Patent Foundation, hope to overturn the July 29 decision by a lower court that the company can keep its patents on the BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes.

Not only are the plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of gene patenting, but also its ramifications, such as the monopoly that Myriad Genetics currently holds on BRAC1 and BRAC2 genetic testing.

“Myriad’s monopoly on the BRCA genes makes it impossible for women to use other tests or get a second opinion about their results, and allows Myriad to charge a high rate for their tests—over $3,000, which is too expensive for some women to afford,” The Public Patent Foundation explained on its website.

However Myriad Genetics argues that genes that have been extracted and isolated should be patentable, and that failure to do so can diminish research incentive and stifle innovation, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

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Comments

Avatar of: verynaive

verynaive

Posts: 7

October 18, 2011

No scientist can claim to have invented genes or any of the genes that are mutated in diseases. It would be ok to patent newly created genes, but the ones inside the human cell nuclei were not invented by any of us.
That people should have to pay more for simple test because of patenting is crazy, particularly since genes and mutations like BRAC1 and 2 have been reported in peer-reviewed papers for many years. To always put money before patient is certainly unethical and it is shocking to think this has survived for so long.

Avatar of: mightythor

mightythor

Posts: 1457

October 18, 2011

I haven't seen the wording of the Myriad patent, but typically patents grant the holder the right to prevent any use of the patented material without permission.  Does this mean that folks have to apply to Myriad to express the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in their own cells?  Seems absurd on the face of it.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

October 18, 2011

No scientist can claim to have invented genes or any of the genes that are mutated in diseases. It would be ok to patent newly created genes, but the ones inside the human cell nuclei were not invented by any of us.
That people should have to pay more for simple test because of patenting is crazy, particularly since genes and mutations like BRAC1 and 2 have been reported in peer-reviewed papers for many years. To always put money before patient is certainly unethical and it is shocking to think this has survived for so long.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

October 18, 2011

I haven't seen the wording of the Myriad patent, but typically patents grant the holder the right to prevent any use of the patented material without permission.  Does this mean that folks have to apply to Myriad to express the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in their own cells?  Seems absurd on the face of it.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

October 18, 2011

No scientist can claim to have invented genes or any of the genes that are mutated in diseases. It would be ok to patent newly created genes, but the ones inside the human cell nuclei were not invented by any of us.
That people should have to pay more for simple test because of patenting is crazy, particularly since genes and mutations like BRAC1 and 2 have been reported in peer-reviewed papers for many years. To always put money before patient is certainly unethical and it is shocking to think this has survived for so long.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

October 18, 2011

I haven't seen the wording of the Myriad patent, but typically patents grant the holder the right to prevent any use of the patented material without permission.  Does this mean that folks have to apply to Myriad to express the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in their own cells?  Seems absurd on the face of it.

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