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Patenting Human Genes: Ethics, Regulation, and Innovation in Biotechnology

University of Adelaide Food Values Research Group

Friday, October 26, 2012 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM (ACDT)

Patenting Human Genes: Ethics, Regulation, and...

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Patents are a well established way of protecting and ensuring the value of innovations in a range of different domains. However patenting has been controversial in the domain of human and other types of genes.

Four thousand human genes have been patented already - approximately 20 per cent of the human genome.However, there is growing concern that patenting human genes prevents vital research from progressing and that the main benefits of patenting accrue to organisations hoping to profit from exclusive access. Recently the Federal Government passed the Raising the Bar Bill, designed to protect cancer researchers who wanted access to genetic material patented by corporations, but some are suggesting it doesn’t go far enough.

One recent case study relates to the patenting of the breast cancer--associated genes, BCRA1 and BCRA2, by US-based company Myriad Corporation. Genetic Technologies Limited has the exclusive Australian licence and could legally prevent any other organisation from providing tests based on these genes to women. It also potentially limits the development of new gene-targeted therapies.

Are patents on genes really patents on innovations? What should be patentable? Should organisations ‘own’ exclusive rights to human genetic information? How would researchers attract the investment needed to fund research if the patenting environment were to change? How do we ensure that society continues to benefit from research which may lead to accessible tests and treatments?

These questions and more will be discussed at a small-scale workshop to discuss gene patenting in the Australian context.

Speakers:

Ms Melissa Parke MP, Federal Member for Fremantle

Dr Luigi Palombi, Australian National University

Professr Dianne Nichol, University of Tasmania

Dr Ian Olver, Cancer Council of Australia

Facilitator:

Associate Professor Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide 

When: Friday October 26 from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm (The event will conclude with refreshments over networking from 4.45 pm)

Where: B03 Seminar Room West, Masonic Hall, North Terrace

For more information contact: heather.bray@adelaide.edu.au

Have questions about Patenting Human Genes: Ethics, Regulation, and Innovation in Biotechnology? Contact University of Adelaide Food Values Research Group

When & Where


Masonic Hall
North Terrace
Adelaide, South Australia
Australia

Friday, October 26, 2012 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM (ACDT)


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