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Myriad's patents give it exclusive right to perform diagnostic tests on the genes -- forcing other researchers to request permission from the company before they can take a look at BRCA1 and BRCA2, the ACLU said. The patents also give the company the rights to future mutations on the BRCA2 gene and the power to exclude others from providing genetic testing.
More than 192,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year -- about 5 to 10 percent of those cases have a hereditary form of the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Mutation in the genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 -- short for breast cancer 1 and breast cancer 2 -- are involved in many cases of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers, the institute said.
"A woman's lifetime chance of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene," according to the institute....."
"....The company also charged $3,000 a test, possibly keeping some women from seeking preventive genetic testing, the ACLU says."