Who Owns Your Genes?

Who Owns Your Genes?

The UCLA Center for Society and Genetics and The ACLU of Southern California present the panel discussion

Who Owns Your Genes?

Your Civil Liberties vs. Commercial Patenting of Human Genes

306 Royce Hall

(Reception to Follow)

Did you know that about 20 percent of human genes are patented? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone else from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.

In May 2009, the National ACLU filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The case was filed on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, breast cancer and women's health groups, scientific associations of geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. The suit charges that the patents on these genes stifle diagnostic testing and research and limit individuals' options regarding their medical care. In March, a federal district court issued a landmark ruling invalidating the patents. The ruling is now on appeal.

Join us for a discussion of gene patents, their effects on science and patient care, and the litigation and other advocacy. Speakers include:

* Sandra Park: Staff Attorney for the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. Ms. Park is currently working on the lawsuit challenging the patents granted on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer.

* Wayne Grody: M.D., Ph.D., Professor, UCLA School of Medicine Divisions of Medical Genetics and Molecular Pathology

* Deborah Heine: Attorney and Exec Director, Claire Altman Heine Foundation. Deborah Heine founded the Clair Altman Heine Foundation in memory of her daughter, Claire, who died of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disease that involves a commercially patented gene.

* Debra Greenfield:  Attorney and Adj. Asst. Prof with the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics who has previously worked on cases dealing with the implications of gene patenting and tissue ownership.

Seating is Limited

To reserve a seat, RSVP at Darwin@socgen.ucla.edu or call (310)267-5471

Please contact Roland McFarland (rmcfarland@socgen.ucla.edu) for inquiries.