Profession

Gene patent suit stirs medical community

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 14, 2009

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Gene patents, if allowed to stand, threaten to chill medical research and treatment options. That's according to a friend-of-the-court brief filed in August by the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies, the Medical Society of the State of New York and several other medical organizations.

The underlying case was sparked by a lawsuit that the Assn. for Molecular Pathology and other medical organizations, researchers and patients filed seeking to invalidate Myriad Genetics' patents on a pair of genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Organized medicine has argued that such patents violate legal precedent barring the patentability of laws of nature. The case also has attracted the attention of biomedical firms that, along with Myriad Genetics, say such patents are legal and necessary to garner the financial investment needed to spur new medical research.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/09/14/prbf0914.htm.

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