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Association for Molecular Pathology joins ACLU to challenge gene patents
Date:5/13/2009

Washington, DC May 13, 2009 The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) announced today that it is working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation to bring a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and should be invalidated. Individuals with certain mutations along these two genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are at a significantly higher risk for developing hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed May 12 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the BRCA genes. The plaintiffs include organizations representing over 150,000 researchers and pathologists, breast cancer and women's health groups, and individual women.

"After careful deliberation, AMP decided to join this suit as a plaintiff and was the first professional association to do so," said Jan A. Nowak, MD, PhD, the president of AMP. "We have done this for a number of reasons, the most compelling of which is that the principle being argued in the case is consistent with our desire to support public policies that we believe are in the best interests of our profession and the patients we serve."

In 2008, AMP adopted a revised Policy Statement on gene patenting and the licensing of intellectual property that urged an end to the practice of granting patents on single genes, sequences of the genome or correlations between genetic variations and biological states. AMP also encouraged groups that currently hold gene patents, including higher educational and research institutions, not to grant exclusive licenses to access those patents.

"This suit is not intended to allege that Myriad is an une
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Contact: Rachel Myers
rmyers@aclu.org
212-549-2689
Association for Molecular Pathology
Source:Eurekalert

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