FEDERAL APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS RIGHT OF COMPANY TO PATENT GENES

A federal appeals court reaffirmed the right of a company to patent two genes linked to breast cancer and ovarian cancer.The panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the right of Myriad Genetics to patent isolated genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 which account for most of the inherited forms of breast and ovarian cancer. Women who test positive using Myriad’s gene test have an 82% higher risk of breast cancer and 44 % higher risk of ovarian cancer in their lifetimes. The American Civil Liberties Union which brought the case argued that patents on human genes violated the First amendment and patent law as they are products of nature. The court rules that the compositions are not natural products. Proponents for patenting argue it will enhance incentives finding cures for the major chronic illnesses as companies will yield profits for their efforts.