Five breast cancer patients, with the help of the ACLU, are heading to court to dispute a company's right to monopolize parts of the human genome
When Lisbeth Ceriani was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted a blood test to find out if she carried one of the two dreaded BRCA genes, which could increase her risk of ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent. She decided that if she were a carrier, she would have doctors remove her ovaries. But the sole purveyor of the BRCA tests, Utah-based Myriad Genetics, refused her insurance. Myriad holds the patent on the BRCA genes, and thus exclusive R&D rights, so there were no alternative tests, and Ceriani found herself unable to make a decision about her future health.