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.

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, patients, and scientific organizations representing over 150,000 pathologists and laboratory professionals.   The case is the first challenging whether human genes can be patented.
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.

ACLU Asks Supreme Court to Hear Gene Patents Case

ACLU Asks Supreme Court to Hear Gene Patents Case

By Sarah Roberts, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 5:49pm

Today, the ACLU petitioned the Supreme Court to hear our case challenging patents on two human genes related to breast and ovarian cancer.

The case, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. vs. Myriad Genetics, et al., was filed in 2009…

 Who Owns Your Genes? The Case Continues…

Who Owns Your Genes? The Case Continues…

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 8:10am

Today, a divided appellate court upheld patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The ruling partially reverses a landmark decision by a federal district court in March 2010 that concluded that human genes cannot…

Barbara Brenner, 1951-2013

Barbara Brenner, 1951-2013

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:00am

The ACLU mourns the loss of a great leader, tenacious activist, and close friend of the organization. Barbara Brenner, the longtime director of Breast Cancer Action ("BCA"), was a frequent and trusted ACLU collaborator – as an employee at the ACLU…

Voices on Human Gene Patents: Gene Discovery, Patents, and the Community

Voices on Human Gene Patents: Gene Discovery, Patents, and the Community

By Sue Friedman, DVM, Founder, Executive Director, FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered at 11:32am

Recently a dear friend sent me a link to an article in the February 1996 issue of Nature Medicine. The article...

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…

Statistics image