Humans “have only 30,000 genes, so the fact that there are now 8,000 of those genes or more that are patented is a significant number,” David Koepsell said during a talk sponsored by the Health Law Association. the decision the justices delivered last week, American Civil Liberties Union asked justices on the Supreme Court, unsigned editorials responding to the weight of these patent precedents. On October 2000, I argued in “Who Owns Your Genes?” that naturally occurring genes should not be patented because they are not inventions, but discoveries of what already exists in nature. My father had a radical mastectomy in 1975. The paradox of modern genetic testing has been the uncertainty of what to do with the results. The courts have also allowed Myriad to stop researchers from moving genetic treatments into human populations that effectively wipe out BRCA-related tumors in mice. Patenting of specific human genes constitutes a threat to basic science and should not be allowed, a legal scholar and ethicist said at the Law School recently. Families with histories of any number of inherited diseases — from heart failure to diabetes to mental illness to autoimmune disorders – will increasingly share their DNA with researchers looking for genetic clues. On January 2001, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued its guidelines for patents on genes and proved me wrong.. He’d visited a general surgeon to check an eraser-sized lump he’d noticed in his left “breast,” which turned out to be malignant. In addition, the company has legally been able to exclude a critical BRCA sub-test from its insurance-covered “comprehensive” battery – denying families without ready cash a chance to gain results that could safeguard their health. For example, patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene variants, which have been linked to inherited breast and ovarian cancers, belong to … See the original on-line article . I strong-armed my father into taking the test and held my breath as we waited for results. Myriad’s monopoly on this small slice of human DNA defies reason. Newton discovered the law of gravity; he did not invent it. In November 2010, when the appellate court overturned a ruling in plaintiffs favor, several major newspapers, including The Boston Globe, published unsigned editorials responding to the weight of these patent precedents. Others say that banning patenting actually protects the public investment into genome research, which could become wasted if private companies stifle attempts to research into genes on which they hold a … He had the mutation and developed breast cancer. The patenting of specific human genes constitutes a threat to basic science and should not be allowed, a legal scholar and ethicist said at the Law School on Friday. This program aired on April 3, 2012. "because human genes are unique and convey information about the essence of being human, they should not be patented" (sic) Being human is a rather ephemeral concept to grapple with, especially for patent attorneys who are so used to concrete characterizations such as claims, but it is not one which should be lightly dismissed, or in the case of the first quotation above, ignored. Starting in the 1980s, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (PTO) began granting patents on human DNA. aren't the BRCA genes 'patented'? Researchers in the 1980s pinpointed two kinds of genetic mutations that dramatically increase the odds of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The human genome continues to be a subject of interest as more and more research shows that people metabolize drugs differently based on their individual genetic makeup, he said. I am therefore crossing fingers and toes that when the appellate court reconsiders its decision concerning Myriad, it will open BRCA testing and research to the best and brightest, not just those who got there first. The Globe argued that “Congress should seek to devise new rules through a panel of experts” rather than allow the courts to determine the future of Myriad’s claims under U.S. genetic patent laws. The ACLU further charged that the BRCA gene patents limit women’s access to the genetic screening because of its cost and that Myriad's monopoly on the test prevents women from getting a second opinion. Researchers, geneticists, and the American Civil Liberties Union asked justices on the Supreme Court to reconsider an appellate court’s ruling that upheld Myriad’s patent of the genetic material. No, genes should not be patented. Only the way genes are used, with a particular technology, can be patented. Along with the rest of the nation, I was on pins and needles last week listening to arguments in front of the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of “Obamacare.” I was also holding my breath, waiting for the decision the justices delivered last week concerning a challenge to Myriad’s monopoly on BRCA DNA and BRCA testing. If a scientist patents a gene, replicating the gene violates the patent. Genes cannot be patented because they are not technology. Since patents give the owners intellectual property rights on the patented genome sequence for 17 to 20 years, many people fear that gene patents hinder research. For my dad, the result was retrospectively predictive. Critics of human gene patents rejoiced last month when the nation's highest court ruled that human genes can't be patented. In 1998, a former University of Buffalo professor founded the private company Celera, which became a private competitor to the public Human Genome Project, said Koepsell, who is a professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Perhaps, in 2010, that seemed an avenue for positive change, but today, in 2012, few reading these lines would imagine that members of Congress could remain civil long enough to resolve such ethically, scientifically, or legally complex matters. Myriad argues that courts must uphold its claims because it has done nothing more than to follow previously established patent laws. By the fall of 1998, I’d had elective surgery to remove my thus-far cancer-free breasts and ovaries. Without this process, rapid sequencing was a tedious process done by hand in laboratories, Koepsell said. For me, a healthy 37-year-old mother of young triplets, the implications weren’t so clear. April 03, 2012. After examining the existing case law, attorneys at Celera decided that the company could begin patenting the genes that its scientists discovered. “Not only that — we couldn’t logically try to protect them against other people’s possession.”, Delft University of Technology Professor David Koepsell. It impedes scientific research, which requires that scientists replicate the gene they wish to study, he said. If genes were not patented all biotechnological research groups would have a free hand to manipulate genes as they wished. Humans “have only 30,000 genes, so the fact that there are now 8,000 of those genes or more that are patented is a significant number,” David Koepsell said during a talk sponsored by the Health Law Association.