Patient group joins breast cancer gene patent suit

Many Boston orgs have reps working with this not-into-pink,  Bay-area group, including Silent Spring Institute, Our Bodies, Ourselves and local breast cancer activist groups.

 Here from Breast Cancer Action’s press release:

 Breast Cancer Action (BCA) is challenging the legality of patenting human “breast cancer genes.” BCA is joining the American Civil Liberties Union in suing Myriad Genetics (a private biotechnology company based in Utah), that currently holds the patent on the two human genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are present in every human. However, people with certain genetic mutations on these genes are at an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad holds exclusive rights to these genes and their mutations and to the research performed on them. Testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can only be performed at Myriad labs and currently costs over $3,000.

Since 1998, when BRCA1 & 2 were first patented, BCA has maintained that the patenting of human genes interferes with patients’ access to genetic testing and medical care.

“The time has finally arrived for the courts to decide who owns our genes,” said Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action.

Here’s a story on the topic from MIT’s Tech Review.

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