College of American Pathologists Issues Statement on Supreme Court Gene Patent Decision


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Genomic medicine has the potential to be a cornerstone of medical testing, treatment, and clinical integration, but the question of ‘who owns your genes’ needed a definitive answer. Now we have it.

—Stanley Robboy MD, FCAP

In a statement released earlier this month, the College of American Pathologists applauded the unanimous Supreme Court decision invalidating the patents held by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, calling the decision “a victory for patients and for science.”

The College of American Pathologists was a co-plaintiff in the case Association of Molecular Pathology et al vs Myriad Genetics, Inc, which the court decided on June 13, 2013.

Landmark Decision

“This is a landmark decision,” said the College’s President, ­Stanley Robboy MD, FCAP. “Genomic medicine has the potential to be a cornerstone of medical testing, treatment, and clinical integration, but the question of ‘who owns your genes’ needed a definitive answer. Now we have it,” Dr. Robboy said.

Until the Court’s recent decision, a woman could find out if she carried the mutated gene only from a test provided by Myriad at a cost of more than $3,000. The Court’s decision has now opened the door for other companies and researchers to create their own tests and conduct their own research on the previously patented genes.

“The Supreme Court decision invalidating Myriad Genetics’ patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2, is a huge victory for patients,” said Debra Leonard, MD, PhD, FCAP, Chair of the College of American Pathologist’s Personalized Health Care Committee. “It will allow women to receive life saving, state-of-the-art genetic tests without being forced to trust one provider or one laboratory performing a single test to secure a diagnosis or inform treatment,” Dr. Leonard said.

For more information, visit www.cap.org/advocacy. Plus, see next month’s issue of The ASCO Post for more on the recent Supreme Court decision. ■



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