Friday, June 28, 2013

FORCE To Host Five Screenings of Decoding Annie Parker, A Film About The Discovery of BRCA1

In an exciting partnership, FORCE is happy to announce five exclusive benefit screenings of the feature film Decoding Annie Parker. The film, starring Helen Hunt and Samantha Morton, tells the story of the discovery of BRCA1 and its influence on a family deeply affected by cancer.  Screenings will take place in Chicago (July 25), Los Angeles (September 17), Washington DC (October 1), Philadelphia (October 2) and Palm Beach (October 12).

Click here to purchase tickets to a screening of Decoding Annie Parker Read more!

Genetic Counselor, Ellen T. Matloff, Explains How Gene Patents Harmed Her Patients

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to overturn patents on human genes is a victory for genetic counselors, patients and advocacy groups alike. Ellen Matloff, Director of the Yale Cancer Genetic Counseling Program and plaintiff on this historical case, shares her perspective on the harmful effects such patents can have and how this ruling has opened the gateway toward increased opportunities for genetic testing.

Click here to read the original article posted by Breast Cancer Action Read more!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

WEBINAR THIS AFTERNOON: Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Human Gene Patents | Breast Cancer Action

Come ask all your questions about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn human gene patents. It's a huge win, but what does it mean for our health?

And if you're on Twitter, live-tweet with us during the webinar using #hgpwebinar.

Join us and a panel of experts to learn about the huge implications of this watershed decision for women’s health and beyond.

he Supreme Court ruled in our favor to strike down Myriad Genetics’ patents on the human “breast cancer” genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. This is a tremendous win for women’s health – and for all our health! 

We challenged Myriad's control of the BRCA genes because we couldn’t sit idly by while Myriad’s monopoly harmed women. Thank you for standing with us against corporate control of our health.

- See more at:
 VICTORY Human Gene Patents Outlawed Read more!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Liberates Breast Cancer Gene

Written by genetics law super expert Lori Andrews. Excerpt: "...paying Myriad nearly $4000 for each look at your breast cancer genes was like having to pay a car thief for the right to drive your own car."

read the full article here: Read more!

Join the College of American Pathologists THIS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, for a one-hour audio conference on the Supreme Court decision from 3-4

Genomic medicine has the potential to be a cornerstone of medical testing, treatment, and clinical integration. Without doubt, the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision invalidating Myriad’s patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 is already changing the testing landscape for those genes. What other changes can we expect? How will the decision impact pathology and our patients? What did it take to win the case?
As a co-plaintiff in this landmark case, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and all pathologists have cause to celebrate the Court's ruling. The CAP has assembled a panel of leading experts, including the researcher who discovered BRCA1 and BRCA2, and the ACLU attorney who argued for the plaintiffs and won. Listen as they, along with two leading molecular genetic pathologists, discuss the Supreme Court decision and the impact it will have on patient care.
Read more!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Day I Will Never Forget

Thursday, June 13 – a day I will never forget.  Today was my daughter's last day of nursery school.  I dropped her off, drove to a nearby coffee shop to get some writing done, and then rejoined the class for parent sing-a-long and snack.  After the party my daughter and I ran through the rain to our car and I then noticed that my abandoned cell phone was going crazy.  Voicemails, texts --- all saying the same thing: We won the Supreme Court BRCA Patent case unanimously.  

I immediately started crying.

"Mommy, what's wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong, honey.  Mommy is very happy."
"I won a fight today that I've been fighting for a long time.  This is going to help Mommy's patients."

And then I thought of all of my patients over the past 18 years and their children, and grandchildren.  
Generations that span into the future --- all of whom will be helped by this ruling.  
I cried harder as we drove home through the rain, thinking of 15 years of fighting for a cause that had all come to a beautiful end.  

Ellen T. Matloff, MS
Research Scientist, Department of Genetics
Director, Cancer Genetic Counseling
Yale Cancer Center

Read more!

Professional Societies Applaud Supreme Courts Decision

ACMG Applauds Supreme Court Decision on Gene Patents

June 13, 2013 –Bethesda, MD – Today,
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), in a unanimous decision, held that natural isolated DNA is not patentable. This is a thrilling victory for patients and ACMG is proud to have been a plaintiff on this important case.

“We hold that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated,” Justice Clarence Thomas said.

As background, with breast cancer affecting an estimated one in eight women, ACMG has expressed grave concern for more than 15 years over the human cost of patents on genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that are important in diagnosis, management, risk assessment and prevention.  Myriad's patent reduces consumer choice, negatively impacts price and reduces availability of testing to the public.

"Imagine if your wife, sister or daughter needed to make a decision about surgery to remove her breasts after a genetic test result placed her at high risk for breast cancer.  Thanks to this Supreme Court decision today, there will now be choices and options to get an independent test done to confirm the results," said Michael S. Watson, PhD, FACMG, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

While finding that natural isolated DNA is not patentable, the Court found that synthetic DNA (cDNA) is patent - eligible. Gail Herman, MD, PhD, FACMG, president of the ACMG stated, "While this is indeed, great news, our preferred outcome would have gone even further and found that that any form of a gene is not patentable because it is the information content that is naturally occurring regardless of whether its genomic or cDNA.  It is ACMG's long-standing position that genes and their mutations are naturally occurring substances that should not be patented.  On behalf of both patients and genetics health professionals, we applaud the decision that human genes are not patentable and hope that this will eventually include cDNA also."

For many years, ACMG has publicly stated that patenting of genes, and especially the practices that limit testing to a single laboratory, stand firmly in the way of good patient care, interfere with informed decision-making by patients, impede training of the next generation of lab professionals and restrict the flow of information that is critical to advancing medical knowledge and better medical care accessible to all.

"Because of this decision, many patients will no longer need to go through an 'obstacle course' of trying to fully access and understand their own genetic information," said Gail Herman, MD, PhD, FACMG, president of the ACMG.

Read more!

Quest Diagnostics to Offer BRCA Testing

Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX), one of the largest laboratory diagnostics companies, plans to offer tests to identify the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations thought to predict certain types of breast cancer after the Supreme Court ruled that genes can not be patented.

Quest's entry into the market could pressure sales for Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN), currently the only testing company to offer BRCA tests in the U.S. However, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes isolated from the body can't be patented, opening up the potential for competition to Myriad's BRCA tests.

"Based on our initial review of the Court's decision," said Wendy H. Bost, Quest's director of media relations, in an email, "we expect it will open opportunities for Quest Diagnostics to develop new testing
services, including in the area of hereditary breast cancer." As a result, the statement continued, "we now intend to validate and offer a BRCA1 and BRCA2 test service to physicians and patients later
this year."

Shares of Quest Diagnostics rose 1.4% to $62.88; meanwhile, Myriad shares fell 6.7% to $31.60. Earlier, Myriad's stock had risen as much as 13% because the Supreme Court also upheld Myriad's patents for cDNA, a synthetic version of the genes, but other methods for analyzing the genes are available to testing companies, analysts said.

Read more!

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes CANNOT be patented

Cancer counselor 'thrilled' with ruling on gene patents
By Carole Bass ’83, ’97MSL | 12:25pm June 13 2013

Yale Cancer Center's Ellen Matloff. Photo: Terry Dagradi

A US Supreme Court decision today means "cheaper, faster and better genetic testing" for Yale cancer patients, says Ellen Matloff, director of genetic counseling at the Yale Cancer Center and a plaintiff in the case.

In Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Matloff and others raised the question of whether human genes can be patented. The court's unanimous answer: no.

That means that Yale and other health care providers can begin offering their own genetic tests to compete with those sold by Myriad.

Immediately at issue were Myriad's patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2, the genes whose mutations (recently spotlighted by Angelina Jolie) predict high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Utah-based Myriad claimed exclusive rights to test those genes and, according to Matloff, stopped Yale from offering a less expensive version.

"I'm thrilled," Matloff says by e-mail. "Our patients will have cheaper, faster and better genetic testing moving forward and research will open for BRCA carriers. Thrilled."

Matloff and other plaintiffs contended that genes are naturally occurring and therefore not patentable. Myriad responded that by isolating the DNA, it had created a new product to which it owned legal rights.

“Myriad did not create anything," Justice Clarence Thomas ’74JD concluded in the Supreme Court opinion. "To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention."

The court did hold that cDNA, a synthetic version that omits certain portions of the original material, "is distinct from the DNA from which it was derived" and can be patented.

In a press release, Myriad claimed victory. "We believe the court appropriately upheld our claims on cDNA, and underscored the patent eligibility of our method claims, ensuring strong intellectual property protection for our BRACAnalysis test moving forward," says CEO Peter Meldrum. "More than 250,000 patients rely upon our BRACAnalysis test annually, and we remain focused on saving and improving peoples' lives and lowering overall healthcare costs." Read more!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Patenting Human Genes


Patenting Human genes
Read more!