AMP applauds Supreme Court ruling: Sees win for patients and personalized medicine

March 21st, 2012
Bethesda, MD, March 21, 2012: "The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today in the case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories as a victory for patients and for the advancement of personalized medicine," stated Iris Schrijver, MD, the Organization's President. AMP, an international professional society representing more than 2000 physicians, doctoral scientists, and medical technologists, joined 10 other medical and healthcare organizations in filing an amicus brief with the Court in support of Mayo Clinic. AMP is also the lead plaintiff in Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that challenges the validity of patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and is currently under review by the High Court.

"Prometheus acknowledged that physicians can infringe the patent by merely thinking about the relationship between drug metabolite levels and patient response," asserted Dr. Schrijver. "It is encouraging that the Court recognized that the Prometheus patents neither promote the advancement of medical practice, nor benefit patient care".

"In Prometheus, the Court wisely recognized that overly broad patents can inhibit innovation," stated Jennifer Hunt, MD, MEd, the Organization's President-Elect. "Establishing a drug reference range is important, but standard work for laboratory physicians. Awarding monopolies over the medical use of natural, biological relationships stifles innovation in true diagnostic test methods and obstructs improvements for patient care."

AMP believes the Supreme Court's reasoning in Mayo v. Prometheus extends to patents that claim ownership over another type of natural phenomenon, the biological relationships between genetic variants and clinical disease. Such relationships are at the heart of personalized medicine. "Patients are increasingly being disadvantaged by gene correlation patents," stated Roger D. Klein, MD, JD, Chair of AMP's Professional Relations Committee. As an example, Dr. Klein cited a method patent relating to a variation in a gene known as FLT3 that is used to qualify some leukemia patients for bone marrow transplant.

Enforcement of the FLT3 patent by a private company has been forcing physicians and laboratories to split and geographically distribute irreplaceable bone marrow specimens. "Splitting samples creates an additional risk of specimen loss and delays the receipt of patient results" stated Dr. Klein. "In addition, it interferes with the ability of pathologists to provide synoptic interpretations involving multiple tests, and prevents them from implementing cost saving algorithms that limit unnecessary testing. The Supreme Court's ruling is clearly a win both for our patients and for personalized healthcare."

Provided by Association for Molecular Pathology

This Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...