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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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Foes of Gene Patents Sue Over BRCA Test
13 May 2009 12:16 pm
Two advocacy groups joined with cancer patients and doctors yesterday to launch a sweeping attack on human gene patents. They filed a lawsuit arguing that those for breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, controlled by the diagnostic company Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City, Utah, are illegal. Among other things, the plaintiffs claim that these patents violate the right to free speech because they prevent patients who take Myriad's test from getting a second opinion.
If successful—and it is a long shot—the case could undercut many gene patents.
This challenge arose from complaints made initially by breast cancer patients who objected to Myriad’s monopoly control over the testing and interpretation of risks associated with these cancer genes. The litigation is being carried forward by the Public Patent Foundation, headed by Daniel Ravicher, a patent attorney at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, and the American Civil Liberties Union. They filed their complaint yesterday in federal court in New York against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and others. One of many researchers lending support to the cause is genome scientist and Nobelist John Sulston of the University of Manchester, U.K., who warns that “gene patents can have a chilling impact on research, obstruct the development of new genetic tests, and interfere with medical care.”