Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who owns that gene?

That depends on who you ask. Personally I find the idea that someone can own the patent on a gene which was created naturally in my body a bit creepy. Now the court is saying the same thing.  Here is a summary of what my tiny brain understands:
  • The US Patent office has been issuing patents on genes for about 30 years.
  • Myriad Genetics developed the BRCA 1 and 2 tests and patented the two genes.
  • Anyone who wanted to perform a BRCA test to test for the breast/ovarian cancer gene had to pay a fee to Myriad
  • People sued and a judge in 2010 invalidated the BRCA patents.
  • Myriad continued the fight and it got to the Supreme Court (even though they are very busy with that healthcare reform stuff) threw out the case on the grounds of another case which said the laws of nature are not patentable.
  • This not the final ruling as it returns to the district court for further ruling. So stay tuned...

Great, what I see here are a lot of lawyers getting rich off greedy companies (assisted by the Patent office) while patients, cancer research, personalized medicine, and genetic research. But I think the odds are in favor here that this will be throw out as they Supreme Court tossed it already. (Or at least I hope so because I believe patients should come first and corporate greed should come last.)

1 comment:

A Knutson said...

Agreed! Down with corporate greed! Up with patient care. Now what's your opinion on the rejection of Obamacare by the supreme court?