BRCA

The U.S. Supreme Court is about to decide whether a private company can own a part of your body.

Currently, a company called Myriad Genetics “owns” two genes known as BRCA 1 and BRCA2 –or Breast Cancer 1 and Breast Cancer 2. Women with certain mutations in these genes have a strong chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer.

This has very dangerous implications for women’s health, and it’s illegal. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of these gene patents. On April 15, 2013, the ACLU argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court. We expect a decision this summer.

Read more about BRCA on our FAQ page here.

Voices on Human Gene Patents: 7 Days Until the Supreme Court

Voices on Human Gene Patents: 7 Days Until the Supreme Court

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:37am

On April 15, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on a deceptively short question: Are human genes patentable? While the question's phrasing may be succinct and simple, the implications of the Court's answer are vast and critical. On behalf of researchers,…

Who Invented Your Genes?

Who Invented Your Genes?

By Sandra Park, ACLU at 10:25am

Who invented our genes? There are many possible answers to this question, but I'm pretty sure your answer wouldn't be, "Myriad Genetics."

But that question is at the heart of our ongoing challenge to patents Myriad controls on two human genes…

Are Human Genes Patentable? Supreme Court Will Decide

Are Human Genes Patentable? Supreme Court Will Decide

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 3:54pm

Today, the Supreme Court granted our petition seeking review of an appellate court’s 2-1 ruling upholding patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  We represent 20 plaintiffs, including geneticists,…

Supreme Court: Liberate the Human Genome!

Supreme Court: Liberate the Human Genome!

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 1:14pm

Today, we asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appellate court’s 2-1 ruling upholding patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  The case challenges patents that pose a serious barrier to using…

My Genes Are My Own

My Genes Are My Own

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, patent law was the last thing on my mind. Then again, I didn’t know that one company could have an exclusive right to the genetic information that could save my life.

James Watson, Discoverer of DNA:  Patenting Human Genes Is “Lunacy”

James Watson, Discoverer of DNA: Patenting Human Genes Is “Lunacy”

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 12:11pm

Recently, Dr. James Watson filed an amicus brief opposing gene patents in our lawsuit challenging the patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Watson, along with Francis Crick, identified DNA’s ability…

Celebrate DNA Day by Taking Back Your Genes

Celebrate DNA Day by Taking Back Your Genes

By Sarah Roberts, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:05pm

Tuesday is National DNA Day, which commemorates the discovery of DNA's double helix structure by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, as well as the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. In honor of National DNA Day, the…

Exclusive Patents on the BRCA Genes: Adding Burden to an Already Overburdened Cancer Community

Exclusive Patents on the BRCA Genes: Adding Burden to an Already Overburdened Cancer Community

By Sue Friedman, Executive Director, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)

As part of the ACLU's Taking Back Our Genes campaign , guest blogger Sue Friedman, the Executive Director of FORCE, describes the adverse impact the exclusive…

Hands Off My Genes

Hands Off My Genes

By Rachel Marshall, Washington Legislative Office at 5:21pm

Most teenagers don't sit around contemplating the need for genetic testing. They may not even know the purpose of genetic testing. That all changed for me when I was 13, shortly after my baby brother celebrated his first birthday. He was diagnosed…

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