Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College, speaks with Dr. Christopher Mason, an assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and assistant professor of computational genomics. Dr. Mason recently celebrated a victory, testifying before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of genetic liberty.
In the case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, the court ruled unanimously June 13, 2013 that human genes cannot be patented. Myriad, which had the patents to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, also had a monopoly on genetic testing for those genes.
"This is the fulfillment of a seven-year long struggle and dream that we can liberate the genome, as I like to say," Dr. Mason said. "It's a clear, gigantic win for patients. It means if you want to have additional research, cutting edge research, second opinions on any of your breast cancer associated or other disease related genes, you now have that freedom. It opens the floodgates of research for other people who want to work on these genes."