Regulation of genetics-based medicine likely to spark controversy in 2014

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Some of 2013’s biggest medical stories will likely continue to make headlines in the new year. Among these are several stories about genetics-based medicine and the increased regulation of many aspects of this area of medicine.

An increasing number of studies last year looked at how an individuals’ genetic makeup could affect their risk for or progression of major diseases and mental health conditions, including addictionautismepilepsycancerheart disease and Alzheimer’s.

A Supreme Court decision in July that ruled human genes cannot be patented may be a boon to research and greatly impact patient care and medical innovation, according to experts. Previously, companies and researchers held patents over human genes, such was the case for Myriad Genetics Inc., which developed and sold the only test for the BRCA mutation, a genetic variant linked to increased breast cancer risk. But the Supreme Court ruled DNA segments should not be subject to patent law, because they are part of nature.

Later in the year, however, another government decision complicated the situation when a company offering genetic testing for disease risk found itself in the FDA’s crosshairs. Personal genetic testing company 23andMe was slammed with FDA restrictions in November. These cases, and their implications, are likely to continue impacting genetics this year.

Read the full, original article: Medical controversies sparking debate in 2014

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