Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-03-09

Lawsuit Against Patent of Breast Cancer Genes Proceeds

A federal district judge ruled yesterday that a lawsuit challenging patents on genes related to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer can move forward in court. The lawsuit, filed in May by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, is the first to challenge gene patents as a civil rights violation, reports Wired Magazine.

The defendants in the suit are the US Patent and Trademark Office and Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City, which holds patents for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, where mutations causing breast and ovarian cancer can occur. The patents allow Myriad to restrict outside research on the genes and monopolize predictive cancer tests, for which the company charges $3000, that check for mutations in an individual's genes, according to Wired. Yesterday's ruling denied the defendants' request for dismissal of the suit.

The ACLU and PUBPAT filed the lawsuit on the grounds that genes cannot be patented because they are "products of nature" and that the patents violate the First Amendment by restricting research, according to an ACLU press release. ACLU staff attorney Sandra Park stated, "The patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 restrict women's access to genetic testing and interfere with their medical care. We hope that at the conclusion of this lawsuit, the court declares the patents unconstitutional and invalid."

The outcome of the lawsuit could have a far-reaching impact in genetic research because about 20 percent of all human genes are currently patented; including those associated with Alzheimer's disease, muscular dystrophy, and asthma, reports the ACLU.

Media Resources: Wired Magazine 11/2/09; ACLU 11/2/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/14/09


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

1/27/2016 Study Exposes 'Gender Gap' in Media Coverage of Reproductive Issues - A new study by the Women's Media Center has revealed more than half of news stories focusing on reproductive issues are written by men. According to WMC Media Watch: the Gender Gap in Coverage of Reproductive Issues, men penned 52 percent of bylines discussing issues of reproductive health care - including contraception and abortion - compared to just 37 percent by women. . . .
 
1/27/2016 Taiwan Elects First Woman President - In a landslide victory, the leader of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen won the country's presidential election, becoming the first woman in Taiwan's history to hold the position. Emphasizing her party's commitment to maintaining Taiwan's independence from China, Tsai won over young voters eager to usher in a political changing of the guard following some 70 years of dominance by the pro-Chinese unification party, the Kuomintang (KMT), chaired by presidential opponent Eric Chu. . . .
 
1/26/2016 Anti-Abortion Extremists Behind Planned Parenthood Attack Videos Indicted - Two anti-abortion extremists responsible for last year's misleading videos attacking Planned Parenthood have been indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury in Houston, Texas. On Monday, Harris County district attorney Devon Anderson announced that David Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) - the group behind deceptive videos falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally selling fetal tissue - was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and on a misdemeanor charge related to the purchasing of human organs. . . .