Los derechos de propiedad genética en los tribunales

LONDRES – A primeros de febrero de 2010, un tribunal federal de distrito de los Estados Unidos en Nueva York empezó a dilucidar una causa decisiva sobre si las personas tienen “derecho a saber” cómo puede su genoma dictar su salud futura. La causa - American Civil Liberties Union contra Myriad Genetics” - puede tener repercusiones transcendentales en la medicina y la ciencia.

Las cuestiones en torno a las cuales gira la causa son las de si las patentes genéticas ayudan o entorpecen la investigación y si los pacientes deberían pagar los derechos correspondientes a una empresa biotecnológica para que analizara su predisposición a las enfermedades.

Uno de los demandantes es Lisbeth Ceriani, una mujer de 43 años con cáncer de mama cuyos doctores recomendaron que se le hicieran exámenes sobre dos mutaciones genéticas relacionadas con algunas formas hereditarias de la enfermedad. Myriad Genetics, la única empresa que hace esos análisis en los EE.UU. –es titular de una patente sobre los genes mismos y no sólo sobre el análisis diagnóstico– no aceptó su seguro y Cariani no pudo costearse el examen. De modo que no pudo conocer esa información, como tampoco sus médicos, cosa que podía tener consecuencias para su tratamiento clínico. Otros cinco demandantes –junto con importantes órganos médicos– cuentan historias similares.

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