Last week, the US Supreme Court made a very important decision based on patents on genes. The Supreme Court ruled that laborites cannot put patents on human genes. For example, Myriad Labs located in Colorado was the first laboratory to discover the BRCA mutations that are believed to be responsible for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Until this ruling, Myriad lab was the only laboratory in the country that could look for this gene in suspected breast cancer patients. The cost of this genetic test was unbelievably high, costing as much as $4,000 dollars. Unless the patient was covered by health care, like I was, the test was free or had a minimal copay, for the unlucky ones the test was either impossible or took a lot longer to do.
After the ruling regarding patents and human genes, no single laboratory could hold this restriction on gene tests. The breast cancer BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are not the only genetically inherited cancers let alone disorders. This is an amazing breakthrough, now many laboratories in the country can test for this specific mutations and help save millions of lives for drastically cheaper prices.
Family members of already known cancer patients are lucky enough to look for the specific gene that their loved one has mutated. This new ruling will open doors for increased awareness and possibly finding a cure to one type if not dozen of cancers and other hereditary diseases.
In the second biggest breakthrough for the fight is cancer, is a new drug discovered by Toronto’s Dr. Tak Mak, and Dennis Slamon, of the University of California. This “sharpshooter” drug could be a major breakthrough in fighting many different cancers. The Californian researcher is famous for discovering the drug Herceptin, with specifically targets breast cancer cells that are HER2 positive and has been an important advance for patients diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer. This new discovery drug is supposed to target many different cancers that have one specific enzyme PLK4.
Its current name is “CFI-400945” and it targets the specific enzyme, PLK4, found in the replicating cells chromosomes which is specifically found in RNA, the precursor of proteins made by cells. The link below provides better details on the specific action of the sharp shooter drug!
The drug showed major promise in mice with cancers of colon, ovarian and breast to make a few, now we wait for approval from the Canadian and American governments to start human trials and see what kind of miracles this drug can produce!!!!