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Biotech corporations can't patent cancer-causing genes, Australian court rules


Gene patents

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(NaturalNews) A ruling by Australia's highest court stating that a gene is not a "patentable invention" comes as a huge victory for those who have long awaited such a decision. The ruling specifically zeroes in on BRCA1, a gene associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer; a United States biotech company, Myriad Genetics; and Australian resident Yvonne D'Arcy.

D'Arcy decided to fight the system in an attempt to prevent Myriad Genetics from patenting mutations in the gene. While lower courts twice shunned her request, the High Court of Australia ultimately slammed the gavel down on the biotech company. The decision means that the company can't go on with their monopoly mentality and charge about $3,000 for their own tests while bullying those with more affordable cancer testing alternatives out of the picture.

Trying to lay claim to something that already exists in nature doesn't make it patentable

The ruling essentially explains that tampering with something that already exists naturally and then trying to lay claim to it for economic reasons doesn't make it patentable.

Here's an excerpt from the official ruling:

"The Court held that, having regard to the relevant factors, an isolated nucleic acid, coding for the BRCA1 protein, with specified variations, is not a manner of manufacture. While the invention claimed might be, in a formal sense, a product of human action, it was the existence of the information stored in the relevant sequences that was an essential element of the invention as claimed.

"It's explained that in order for something to be patentable, it must be 'a manner of manufacture' in accordance with the Statute of Monopolies."

It is hoped that this important decision will shed light not only on the intentions of Myriad Genetics and other like-minded companies, but also that the ludicrous and potentially life-destroying concept of patenting genes will continue to be struck down around the globe.

Angelia Jolie, the National Cancer Institute and the real story

The BRCA1 gene gained heightened levels of public attention a few years back when celebrity Angelina Jolie announced that she tested positive for it. In an effort to help reduce her risk of developing breast cancer, she opted to have a double mastectomy. However, as Natural News reported around that same time, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that other factors beyond testing positive for BRCA1 may serve as indications that a person could develop cancer. While a positive BRCA1 test might signify that something has gone awry, it isn't the be-all and end-all test that should evoke mass health fears and prompt someone to make drastic decisions. It's important to know the full story and not just consider what is crafted by those who are in it for the profit.

According to the NCI, the finding that BRCA1 and BRCA2 are linked to elevated breast and ovarian cancer risks comes mainly from studies involving "large families with many individuals affected by cancer." This means that companies that stress the importance of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 are suggesting people get tested based on other families' life habits, toxic exposures and genetics. Furthermore, long-term testing has yet to be conducted, making it difficult to take such tremendous stock in the finding.

Monopolies are about one thing only: greed

How can other people serve as a basis for your own unique genetic makeup? Everyone faces varying environmental situations that play a role in health. Couple this with the fact that every human body has genetic differences, and it's obvious that this test is a one-size-fits-all approach that simply isn't representative of the overall population.

Thankfully, the Australian High Court ruled as it did.

Trying to instill unnecessary fear in people by attempting to patent cancer-causing genes, especially ones that aren't entirely indicative of a person's complete health picture, says a lot about a company's morals and their own greed-ingrained sickness.

Sources include:

Arstechnica.com
HCourt.gov.au
NaturalNews.com

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