Year after Myriad’s breast cancer test patent monopoly broken, data collection explodes

When the US diagnostics giant Myriad Genetics had its legal monopoly on breast-cancer gene testing eliminated one year ago, the company still retained an enormous edge over competitors. Although the US Supreme Court’s ruling last June invalidated the patenting of genes, and with it Myriad’s exclusive rights on two genes associated with breast- and ovarian-cancer risk, the firm still has a private trove of data from 1.3 million genetic tests.

That information gives Myriad, of Salt Lake City, Utah, an advantage in interpreting test results on these genes.

But a coalition of scientists, physicians, patients and genetic counsellors says that it will soon eliminate that advantage. A year after the Supreme Court invalidated the patenting of genes — and with it, Myriad’s monopoly on testing for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer — the number of entries for BRCA variants in ClinVar, a public database for clinical genetic data, has grown to around one-third of the number in the Myriad database. Leaders of the public effort say that it is a showcase for how scientists can clear long-standing obstacles to sharing genetic information.

Read the full, original story: Cancer-gene data sharing boosted

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