What goes unaddressed by the justices is the patentability of cDNA based on common genetic variants in cancer. Those are “naturally occurring” mutations, inasmuch as they arise in humans….And the Supremes need to know about biology.
A surprise lesson arrived in my snail mailbox today: the April 28 issue of NEJM includes a fascinating research paper on a probable cause of leprosy in the southern U.S. New, detailed genetic studies show that armadillos, long-known to harbor the disease, carry the same strain as occurs in some patients; they’re a likely culprit […]
A tweet from a former research colleague reminded me about the Cancer Genome Atlas, which I’d been meaning to check out. This website covers a project jointly funded by two NIH institutes: the NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The project is about documenting cancer genetics for many, many human tumors. Some […]
In today’s Times, Nicholas Wade reports on a potentially serious, besides costly, problem for biomedical researchers: Human DNA Contamination Seen in Genome Databases. He writes: Nearly 20 percent of the nonhuman genomes held in computer databases are contaminated with human DNA, presumably from the researchers who prepared the samples, say scientists who chanced upon the […]
In some ways this seems like a pro-active, well-intentioned policy that could save lives. On the other hand, as discussed in the NEJM piece, the new screening policy raises a host of challenging issues:
* how will colleges inform minor players’ parents about results?
* how will the schools handle players’ privacy?…
…This goes well beyond a new approach to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
This story, largely based in genomics and computational advances, reflects the power of the human mind, how the gifted son of two mathematicians who fell into a particular medical situation, can use his brains, intellectual and financial resources, and creativity, to at least try to make a difference.
Earlier this month employees at most of 7500 Walgreens pharmacies geared up to stock a new item on their shelves: a saliva sampler for personal genetic testing. On May 11, officials at Pathway Genomics, a San Diego-based biotech firm, announced they’d sell over-the-counter spit kits for around $25 through an arrangement with the retailer. A curious consumer could follow the simple package instructions and send their stuff in a plastic tube, provided in a handy box with pre-paid postage, for DNA analysis.