Last month, the Supreme Court remanded the BRCA case (The Association for Molecular Pathology, et al., v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., et al --Docket No. 11-725) to the Federal Court of Appeals.
After a number of previous decisions based on whether a company can patent a gene, and/or patent methods to compare gene sequences, the Court of Appeals will reconsider a 2011 decision declaring Myriad's composition of matter claims patent-eligible under the United States Patent Act.
All eyes are on the outcome of this case, as the results have a much broader impact. In a recent interview with ADVANCE, Alex Lazar, MD, PhD, FCAP, associate professor of pathology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, member of the CAP Cancer Committee and liaison to the Molecular Oncology Committee, noted the potential outcomes mean two different environments in which genetic testing will proceed.
The model in which genetic testing will advance in the future will be vastly different in an arena with firm patents on genes, versus an open market for providing clinically validated tests.
What do you think the courts will decide? What will it mean for the laboratory profession? And, more to the point, do you think genes should be patented? Share your thoughts below.