April 15, 2013 |
As the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case against Myriad Genetics, scientists who are skeptical of the idea of patenting genes said they were hopeful that the justices would overturn the Utah company's claims. "I was on pins and needles the whole time," said Dr. Wayne Grody, director of the Diagnostic Molecular Pathology Laboratory at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, who was present at the arguments. "But at the end I thought, 'The justices really get it' ... I felt that all of them who spoke weren't comfortable with the idea of patenting a gene.
June 13, 2013 |
When Dr. Wayne Grody heard that the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Myriad Genetics could not patent two genes linked to breast cancer, the UCLA medical geneticist was minutes from giving a well-worn speech on the years-old case to a room full of University of Oregon medical school students. "I improvised when I got to the very end," Grody said. The court's 9-0 decision in the case involving the Utah-based Myriad Genetics was welcome news to Grody as well as other doctors and genetic counselors concerned about future research and genetic counselors who said they've had their hands tied by the company's high prices and tough patent enforcement.
December 9, 2002 |
Questions about the link between breast cancer and birth control pills have lingered for years. To date, research has shown only a slight increase in breast cancer risk among younger women who take oral contraceptives. And two years ago, a study indicated that only women who took pills made before 1975, when the estrogen content of pills was much higher, are at increased risk.
August 8, 2011 |
Raymond Johnson, a 26-year-old construction worker fromCharleston, S.C., was recently denied Medicaid coverage for breast cancer treatment because he is a man. Johnson has said he was surprised to learn his diagnosis, which doctors discovered after he experienced chest pain over the July 4th weekend. But every couple of years, a case of a man getting the disease puts men with breast cancer in the news. In 2002, former Sen. Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass.)...
November 5, 2010 |
The proportion of women having both breasts removed when breast cancer appears in one has increased more than ten-fold over a 10-year period, despite a limited amount of evidence showing a survival benefit for the procedure, researchers reported Wednesday. Nearly one in every 20 women now has the second breast removed in an effort to forestall the development of a tumor in it, Dr. Katherine Yao of the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill. and her colleagues reported in the October issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.
May 14, 2013 |
Angelina Jolie's Op-Ed in the New York Times about getting a double mastectomy after learning that she was at risk of getting breast cancer struck a chord with fellow celebs as well as with Los Angeles Times staffers Anna Gorman and Paul Whitefield , who wrote about their own experiences Tuesday. Jolie's Op-Ed specifically focuses on BRCA1 and BRCA2, known as the breast cancer genes. “I have always told [my kids] not to worry [about me getting cancer], but the truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer ,” she writes.
August 31, 2010 |
Preemptive removal of breasts or ovaries in women with two common breast cancer genes can sharply reduce the risk of contracting cancer and dying, even if a woman has already been diagnosed with breast cancer, a new study confirms. Researchers were already confident that such prophylactic surgeries reduce the risk of cancer, but the new study , reported Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., is the largest such investigation to date and the first to differentiate the benefits based on which gene a woman has and whether or not she has already had cancer.
May 14, 2013 |
It's hard to imagine Supreme Court justices paying much attention to the travails of Hollywood's rich and famous. Still, there's an interesting connection between Angelina Jolie's disclosure Tuesday that she underwent a double mastectomy and a case the court is deliberating, the Assn. for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics . At issue is whether a human gene sequence can be patented. That's the broad question. The two specific sequences patented by Myriad -- BRCA1 and BRCA2 -- are genes that suppress tumors . A small percentage of women have defective copies of those genes, and they are extremely likely to develop a virulent form of breast cancer.
July 25, 2012 |
Maybe you've been reading a lot lately about the development of fetal DNA tests based on a curious fact -- that the blood of a pregnant woman contains tiny bits of DNA of the fetus. Several groups have recently used this fact to sequence the entire genome of a fetus and pick up the presence of extra chromosomes or even individual gene variants that would render the baby prone to health conditions. It's an important development with much promise, health researchers say, because it offers a way to detect genetic abnormalities very early, without the small but real risk of miscarriage that comes with today's widely used screening technologies: amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.
May 14, 2013 |
Late Monday night, friends and colleagues started sending me Angelina Jolie's op-ed about her decision to have a double mastectomy. Like Jolie, I have the mutation in my BRCA1 gene that pushed my lifetime risk of developing breast cancer to nearly 90%. (It also raised my risk of ovarian cancer above 50%.) Also like Jolie, I chose to get a double mastectomy to reduce my risk of breast cancer to less than 5%. In 2007, I wrote a first-person story in the Los Angeles Times about finding out I had this mutation and how I decided what to do about it. Jolie is an icon of beauty -- and her disclosure doesn't change that.