An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Myriad Genetics patents Breast, Ovarian Cancer Genes: Who Owns Human Genes now?

Myriad Genetics, is a Utah-based biotechnology company.  It has discovered and isolated two extremely important genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer — BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.

Gene_Patent_Cartoon_Cathy_Wilcox1Now, Myriad Genetics has patented its discovery which grants it a 20-year monopoly over use of the genes for research, diagnostics and treatment. A section of researchers, medical groups and patients are challenging the patent as invalid and have sued.

It is a very important court case.  The genes aren’t created by anyone, they are part of nature itself.  Someone seems to have isolated them.  Now, they just want to block access to those genes so only Myriad can create medicine to impact them.  Despite the world knowing how to eradicate the disease, no one will be because someone is now shutting the door to its treatment – legally!

This case underscores the greedy mess that the entire medical field is in now.  The question here is even more profound though – Who Owns the Human Genes??  It cannot be taken lightly at all.

Listen to the discussion from NPR

Can Human Genes be Patented? (NPR)

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