Take Back Our Genes: Ending the Patents on Breast Cancer Genes

June 2012

In 2009 Breast Cancer Action signed on as a plaintiff in the patent lawsuit challenging Myriad Genetics. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation, challenges the validity of the patents that grant Myriad Genetics control over the BRCA1 and BRCA2 (the “breast cancer”) genes. Myriad’s monopoly prevents anyone else from so much as examining the genes, and creates barriers to scientific research and medical care relating to breast and ovarian cancer. It also limits women’s ability to get second opinions when they receive ambiguous test results, which happens disproportionately to women from ethnic minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

We are the only national breast cancer organization named as a plaintiff and we were able to take this stand because we had no conflicts of interest: we don’t take money from companies that profit from or contribute to cancer and because our work demands patients should always come before profits.

The webinar was presented by BCAction’s Executive Director, Karuna Jaggar; Sandra Park, Staff Attorney for the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union; and Runi Limary, breast cancer survivor and plaintiff. Topics covered included:

  • Why BCAction opposes gene patenting and why it is important for women
  • The impact of gene patenting on underserved communities
  • The status of ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the legality of patents on human genes
  • Real stories of women’s experiences with gene patenting
  • How you can get involved

Hear the real story about the effects of gene patents on women’s health and to join us in opposing corporate control over our bodies, our genes, and our health.

Past Webinars