Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 10:28 am
In a decision that could have broad-reaching effects on the future of science and medicine, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that:
-- "A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated."
-- But, synthetically created "strands of nucleotides known as composite DNA (cDNA)" are "patent eligible" because they do not occur naturally.
Cancer is cruel and it impacts the lives of far too many people and their families. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer kills 458,000 people each year.
Recently, actress and director Angelina Jolie, in a New York Times op-ed entitled My Medical Choice, announced she received a double mastectomy in order to minimize her risk of getting breast cancer.
Jolie has a genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Her mom died from the disease at the age of 56.
In separate studies both published today, researchers at Washington University mapped the genomes of two types of cancer: endometrial cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia.
Both studies are part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, an effort funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the genetic basis of 20 major human cancers.
An international consortium of researchers has sequenced the genomes of more than 1000 people, creating the largest catalog yet of human genetic variation.Richard Wilson directs the Washington University Genome Institute, one of four major research institutions involved in the 1000 Genomes Project.He says researchers identified rare genetic variants that may eventually explain why some people are more susceptible to certain diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s.
A federal panel is calling for stronger privacy protections for human genetic data.In a report out today, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues said “whole genome sequencing” — which provides a unique blueprint of each person’s DNA — holds great promise for advancing medical research and clinical care.But the Commission said genetic data can also be misused and need to be adequately protected.
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