In case you missed this story, Monday a federal judge struck down seven patents on on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. As most of you know these genes are linked to ovarian and breast cancer.
I've never been able to figure out who had the balls to grant a private company the right to own the patent on genetic material; I mean seriously, they didn't invent it, they discovered it. It's like filing for a patent on air.
For those of you who don't understand why this is a big deal let me explain. As long as the patent to genes is held by Myriad, or any other company for that matter, no one else can use it without licensing. So if next week you go and have BRCA testing and you decide you want to have it analyzed by an outside lab to confirm that it's accurate. Sorry can't do that. There is no other test and there is no other option. Considering that women make major decision based on the results of the test, at the very least it would be nice to be able to get a second opinion before scheduling surgery for removal of your ovaries or breasts.
Thanks to The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the ACLU, and everyone who supported this suit, whether plaintiff or organization . The rest of us just might have options thanks to you.
I say might because the decision is likely to be appealed and in this country right now the courts are clearly pro business over the individual but I've got to have hope.
For a more detailed article about the case check out this one at the New York Times .