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Patents on breast cancer genes are illegal and stymie research, say scientists

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4899 (Published 17 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4899
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

    A US court is allowing a lawsuit to proceed against the US Patent Office and a biotechnology company regarding the legality of patents awarded for two breast cancer genes.

    In a case that may have far reaching implications for patents on genes, the US federal district court judge Robert Sweet rejected a motion by the US Patent Office, Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation to dismiss a suit brought by the Association for Molecular Pathology. The association charges that Myriad’s patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are unconstitutional and violate laws against patenting “products of nature.” …

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