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Judge allows challenge to gene patents

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 16, 2009

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A New York trial judge on Nov. 1 gave the green light to a lawsuit challenging a company's patents on a pair of genes associated with breast and ovarian cancers.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said the case could have far-reaching implications for health care and the future course of biomedical research.

A group of medical organizations, researchers and patients sued Myriad Genetics to invalidate what they say are overly broad patents covering laws of nature. The case, filed with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, also alleged that Myriad's enforcement of the patents violated the First Amendment by limiting new gene research.

The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case urging the court to overturn the patents.

Myriad declined to comment on any specific plans to appeal but said it will defend the lawsuit vigorously.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/11/16/prbf1116.htm.

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