Challenging A Monopoly on Genetic Information

Friday, May 03, 2013


As the Supreme Court decides whether genes can be patented, one geneticist has taken matters into his own hands. Dr. Robert Nussbaum is less worried about the owning of genes and more concerned about the monopoly that private companies have over genetic intellectual property – specifically what the mutations in a gene might mean for his patient's health. He tells Brooke how he’s challenging the stranglehold on that information one patient at a time

We contacted Myriad for comment and they responded:

“Nothing is more important to Myriad than helping to save and improve peoples’ lives and more than one million patients have benefitted from Myriad’s BRACAnalysis test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  As a result of Myriad’s $500 million investment in R&D,  today more than 95 percent of patients in the U.S. have access to the BRACAnalysis test through private insurance or other coverage, and patients’ average out-of-pocket cost is only $100.  Myriad also offers financial assistance programs or free testing for uninsured patients or those in need."


Modest Mouse - Here It Comes


Dr. Robert L. Nussbaum

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [4]


Great Visualization of the issue:

May. 09 2013 12:25 PM
Anne from Redondo Beach

Interesting and informative article. Please note that not all doctors are male ("he") and update your wording to reflect this ("doctor... he checks..." - approximate quote). "He" has been shown by studies to be not heard as gender inclusive.

May. 05 2013 10:31 PM
Bruce Toman from NYC

I agree with nyxXpat. Brooke, why such a one-sided story? Why no discussion of the quality of a curated database vs a crowdsourced database, or even more importantly, the money that Myriad invested in clinical studies to understand the significance of the variants in its database? I also don't understand how this story is a critique of the media (ie how it fits with the mission of the show). In line with your own manifest ( please have a look at what you did in this segment. Thanks! ~~~~

May. 05 2013 10:36 AM
nyxXpat from Melrose, MA

That is a very short and to the point statement from Myriad. I would have aprecciated your reading it into the story the most poeple hear.

May. 04 2013 01:45 PM

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