"That pathologists can be excluded from 'looking at' or 'reading' a patient's DNA sequence to characterize or assess the risk for disease is akin to prohibiting a physician from taking a patient's pulse to see if his or her heart is beating," said Mary Steele Williams, Executive Director of the Association for Molecular Pathology. "I think that the fact that patients can be prevented from accessing the information contained in their DNA would offend most people's conceptions of individual rights and personal liberty."
AMP is optimistic the Supreme Court will follow its precedents that render natural products, natural laws, and natural phenomena ineligible for patent protection. Only by upholding the prohibition on patenting laws of nature can the patent system foster competition and advancement in test development, and thereby usher in the era of personalized medicine.
"Gene patents are a barrier to innovation in molecular testing because they grant monopolies in diagnostic testing for key biologic relationships in inherited diseases and cancer," said Roger D. Klein, MD, JD, AMP Professional Relations Committee Chair. "One cannot invent around gene patents. Excluding medical practitioners from independently accessing the information contained within the genes of their patients, and the subsequent loss of competition this implies, results in higher test prices, decreased patient access, and diminished innovation in the development of new test methods. The overall effects on patient care are resoundingly negative."
AMP is deeply concerned about potential restrictions on physician and patient access to information that could inform care, and the chilling effect gene patents have on medical research.
"Because information about gene
|Contact: Don Hunt|
Association for Molecular Pathology