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Apparently, breast cancer is the property of Myriad Genetics

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Apparently, breast cancer is the property of Myriad Genetics

Postby Storm39 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:16 pm

Or the genes that caused it, at least. Some of you may have heard about a lawsuit against the patent by the ACLU. Here's a clip from 60 minutes that I highly recommend watching.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id= ... bsCarousel

Discuss.
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Re: Apparently, breast cancer is the property of Myriad Genetics

Postby AlakazamBrain » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:02 am

Well, the video does not work for me, but I'll try and comment based on the little bit of information you have given.

Can you patent human genes? In theory, no. You cannot patent anything natural. In other words, you cannot patent oxygen, water, lettuce, marijuana, etc. since they are naturally occuring. Human genes, as far as I see it, are natural occuring.

You can patent things like pathways in the body. This isn't like claiming a random artery in your body, this is like how your body reacts to a drug. A drug company can patent a certain way a drug reacts with the body.
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Re: Apparently, breast cancer is the property of Myriad Genetics

Postby Storm39 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:31 pm

AlakazamBrain wrote:Well, the video does not work for me, but I'll try and comment based on the little bit of information you have given.

Can you patent human genes? In theory, no. You cannot patent anything natural. In other words, you cannot patent oxygen, water, lettuce, marijuana, etc. since they are naturally occuring. Human genes, as far as I see it, are natural occuring.

You can patent things like pathways in the body. This isn't like claiming a random artery in your body, this is like how your body reacts to a drug. A drug company can patent a certain way a drug reacts with the body.

In that case, here's an article on it:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/ ... gmentTitle
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Re: Apparently, breast cancer is the property of Myriad Genetics

Postby AlakazamBrain » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:10 pm

Okay, it was very informative to read the article.

Alright, so I see the firm's point. They do invest a LOT of time and money into researching what is causing a disease. If it was public domain, then their time and efforts essentially go wasted. However, they are not patenting the test to test for the gene, nor are they patenting a drug to treat the gene. They are patenting a gene. I have to agree with the argument that you cannot patent a gene as it really is a product of nature.

Having said that, as with the bacteria thing mentioned in the article, that is different. Those bacteria are not really products of nature when a human is drastically modifying their DNA to execute a specific task.

On a side note, this is also a sign that the government is not putting enough money into medical research. If the government were, then something like this would be public domain and would be found by someone funded by a government rather than a business.
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