The Federal Court has granted private companies the ability to patent human gene mutations.
The ruling, made today by the full bench of the Federal Court, has cancer survivors and advocates up in arms fearing patient treatment costs may rise rise, The SMH reported.
The court found that a company could patent a mutation in the gene BRCA1, normally expressed in the cells of breast and other tissue, where they help repair damaged DNA or destroy cells if DNA cannot be repaired.
The decision has been based on a patenting case that is more than 50 years old and has “nothing to do with biotechnology,” according to intellectual property consultant Luigi Palombi.
Director of Advocacy at Cancer Council Australia, Paul Grogan said US companies may attempt to enforce patents down under, disadvantaging Australian researchers who don’t have the same access to innovations and discoveries.
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