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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.

Cristina Luiggi

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...

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