15.10.05

La patentabilidad de los genes

Un reciente estudio revela que ya se ha patentado en EE.UU. un quinto de los genes humanos.

"Gene patents give their owners property rights over gene sequences—for example in a diagnostic test, as a test for the efficacy of a new drug, or in the production of therapeutic proteins," Murray said.
"While this does not quite boil down to [the patent holders] owning our genes … these rights exclude us from using our genes for those purposes that are covered in the patent," she said.


Via Microsiervos

Actualización: La misma historia en el WSJ

U.S. and European patent law preclude anyone from patenting a gene as it
exists in the human body. But for several decades, inventors and institutions have been filing for patents by claiming a proprietary way of isolating the genes or developing a specific therapeutic use for them that is claimed to be unique.

They have also been making similar claims over the specific proteins that each gene instructs cells to produce. A well-known example is erythropoietin, a blood protein manufactured as the blockbuster drug Epogen to stimulate the production of red blood cells and whose patent rights are owned by *Amgen* Corp.

But gene patents can still be subject to dispute. BRCA1, a gene involved in breast cancer, is one of the most often-patented genes, with 14 patents issuing claims to it, according to the study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The BRCA1 has been the subject of legal battles in Europe, where several countries challenged Utah-based Myriad Genetics' patent claims on the use of the gene's sequence for diagnostic purposes. The European Patent Office invalidated one of the company's key patents for the gene and its diagnostic use last year.

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