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Breast Cancer Genes Verdict a Triumph for Women

Below is a guest post by Megan Castle, Program Coordinator for the Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern University. 

By Megan Castle

Geneticists, researchers, and patients joined in celebration over last [month’s] unanimous Supreme Court ruling involving the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, colloquially referred to as the “breast cancer genes.”  The Supreme Court ruled that Myriad Genetics could not patent the BRCA1 and BRCA2 sequence of genes, because patents cannot be placed on that which is created organically in nature.  This decision opens the door for researchers outside of Myriad Genetics to study these genes, providing more opportunities to discover early signs of breast cancer susceptibility.  Karuna Jaggar, Breast Cancer Action’s Executive Director reported that this ruling was, “a tremendous victory for women with a known or suspected inherited risk of breast cancer. Today, the Court righted a wrong and has put patients’ health before corporate profits.”

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