Richmond, VA - The ACLU of Virginia released the following media statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision handed down today that invalidated patents on two genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, patients, breast cancer and women's health groups, and medical professional associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals:
The following can be attributed to ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire G. Gastañaga:
We are very pleased that the Supreme Court affirmed that private entities cannot have control over something as personal and basic to the human body as our genes. As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, DNA is a product of nature and "not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated."
This is a great victory that allows patients to have greater access to genetic testing and makes certain scientists do not have to limit their scientific research out of fear of being sued. The high court's decision affirms that our mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts deserve full access to important health information that gene patents had limited.
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