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US Supreme Court unanimously rules human DNA cannot be patented in case against Myriad Genetics over breast cancer gene

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14 July 2013

How Intellectual Property Reinforces Inequality

Author: Joseph E. Stiglitz, New York Times

The good news coming from the Supreme Court was that in the United States, genes could not be patented…This had two enormous practical implications: one is it meant that there could now be competition to develop better, more accurate, less expensive tests for the gene…And the second is that poor women would have a more equal chance to live — in this case, to conquer breast cancer…Myriad’s effort to patent human DNA was one of the worst manifestations of the inequality in access to health…[Refers to Ambry Genetics, Gene by Gene, Myriad Genetics]

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13 June 2013

Supreme Court Gene Ruling Benefits Biotech, Breast Cancer Research [USA]

Author: Megan McGrath, Voice of America

Everyone has BRCA genes in their cells. If you are a woman and one of your BRCA gene copies has a mutation, your risk of developing breast cancer is very high - up to 87 percent in some cases…Myriad Genetics Inc. was the first to discover the healthy, normal code of BRCA. Myriad developed [a breast cancer] test, and won patent protection for it and the original BRCA gene. Thursday, in a case against Myriad by the ACLU, the Supreme Court decreed that genes can no longer be patented, invalidating Myriad’s intellectual claim to the BRCA code…According to Dr. Marisa Weiss,…this could mean new research, cures and testing for women with BRCA mutations, and for cancer patients.

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