U.S Supreme Court Says Human Gene Cannot Be Patented in Myriad Case #Goodnews


Mixed Ruling on BRCA1 Mutation Linked to Breast Cancer

‘My DNA’: Lisa Schlager addresses protesters outside the Supreme Court. The court issued a mixed ruling in a case involving patenting of human genes.

‘My DNA’: Lisa Schlager addresses protesters outside the Supreme Court. The court issued a mixed ruling in a case involving patenting of human genes.

courtesy of lisa schlager
‘My DNA: Lisa Schlager addresses protesters outside the Supreme Court. The court issued a mixed ruling in a case involving patenting of human genes.

By Reuters

Published June 13, 2013.

In a first of its kind ruling on human genes, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday decided that synthetically produced genetic material can be patented but naturally occurring DNA extracted from the human body cannot.

The nine justices handed a partial victory to Salt Lake City, Utah-based biotechnology company Myriad Genetics Inc , which holds the patents in question. But the rights group that challenged the patents also found reason to be pleased.

The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment.

The contentious, uniquely 21st century question before the court was whether any human genes can ever be patented – meaning the holders have exclusive rights to their intellectual property for a defined period.

The court, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, ruled that a synthetically produced genetic material made by scientists, known as cDNA, can be patented but that genes extracted from the human body, known as isolated DNA, do not merit the same legal protections.

The compromise outcome, which was urged by the Obama administration, will have less impact on Myriad. The Myriad patents in dispute will all expire by 2015.

Myriad’s shares jumped 10 percent to $37.47 after the ruling was issued.

The ruling means some of Myriad’s patents involving cDNA will likely survive, but the parties disagreed on that point.

The case arose when a group of medical researchers, associations and patients – represented by the American Civil Liberties Union – filed suit in 2009, saying human genes, including synthetically produced material, should not be patented.

They challenged seven patents owned by or licensed to Myriad on two genes – called BRCA1 and BRCA2 – linked to breast and ovarian cancer. A federal judge said the patents were invalid. An appeals court overruled that decision, and the case landed at the Supreme Court.

“Today, the court struck down a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation,” said Sandra Park of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “Myriad did not invent the BRCA genes and should not control them. Because of this ruling, patients will have greater access to genetic testing and scientists can engage in research on these genes without fear of being sued.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted patents on at least 4,000 human genes to companies, universities and others that have discovered and decoded them. Patents now cover some 40 percent of the human genome, according to one study.

ANGELINA JOLIE MASTECTOMY

The question was whether the genes Myriad patented concerned its successful isolation of the two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Mutations detected in the genes can help determine heightened risk of breast cancer. Myriad’s work in the area, including a screening test, gained worldwide attention this year when actress Angelina Jolie announced she had a double mastectomy after undergoing a test and finding she had a risk of developing breast cancer.

In the court’s opinion, Thomas wrote that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was wrong to find that isolated human DNA and cDNA were both patent eligible.

Under the federal Patent Act, an inventor can obtain a patent on various new processes and products but “laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas” are not patentable.

Thomas wrote that cDNA “does not present the same obstacles to patentability as naturally occurring isolated DNA segments.”

In examining the differences between the two, Thomas concluded that cDNA is not naturally occurring. A laboratory technician, he wrote, “unquestionably creates something new when cDNA is made.”

Thomas noted so-called method patents, which concern technical procedures for carrying out a certain process, are not affected by the ruling.

The decision will stop the practice of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granting patents to companies that isolate DNA but will allow patents for firms that build DNA from its basic chemicals, said Ed Reines, of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

“The patent office was granting patents on isolated biological composition, such as DNA (for years). That will not be happening in the future,” Reines said.

“Given recent Supreme Court skepticism in the patent area, it is not surprising,” he added. “There shouldn’t be much in this decision that surprises industry or the financial markets.”

 

A letter to Angelina Jolie by an Indian Transman #mustshare



Dear Angelina Jolie,

Thank you for coming out. I mean about your mastectomy. You have no
idea what this can mean for a transman like me who went through the
exact same procedure as yours; well almost!

You didn’t have to come out, but you did. Especially since during your
mastectomies you kept it private and carried on with your work. I know
how difficult it gets with film producer types. I am a filmmaker in
Mumbai and you won’t believe it, but once during an edit session, Mr.
Moneybags, finding me alone in the cutting room, asked if we could
compare our d*** sizes! He giggled and said he hadn’t ever seen one of
someone who has had a sex change operation.

Your piece in the New York Times ‘My Medical Choice’, undoubtedly must
have been that — a medical choice. You spent three months, since this
February, on a procedure called ‘Preventive Bilateral Mastectomy‘ ;
‘Preventive’ since you are the carrier of the BRCA1 gene that puts you
at 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer. I spent
several years trying to convince doctors that I needed a mastectomy
for preventive reasons too. Years of forced living in a gender
identity that wasn’t my own, began to immobilize me. In a society that
understands only two genders and in a medical system that sees
abnormality in everything outside of it, going on is eventually
impossible. But your risk of celebrity cancer turned out to be higher
than my risk of a commoner suicide. Still, I am happy for you. The
mere idea that someone can remove their breasts, at 87% risk or no
risk, is just good enough for me for now.

And of course you wrote this piece for women! And I am hoping that you
meant transwomen too, some of who I know would kill to have your new
breast implants. How atrocious is the idea being peddled that you
wrote it to benefit the Pink Lotus Breast Centre, where your procedure
was performed, or for the biotech company, Myriad Genetics, which owns
a patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes giving them exclusive right to
develop diagnostic tests for, at a current cost of more than $3000 in
the USA. The fact that m o s t breast cancer seems to be sporadic and
has nothing to do with a BRCA1 mutation, pales beautifully in front of
your sheer courage to talk about your own mastectomy in the media.

It is interesting though that all the media attention has been on your
courage in losing your breasts, and not equally on your desire to have
them reconstructed. Your doctors could have expected you to simply get
back to the business of life without them. After all they were lost to
a very high possibility of a most dreaded disease. But they didn’t. If
you were non accepting of your loss, they could have put you through
that monster of an American psychiatric-diagnostic-manual called
DSM-4 ‘ to prove your mental illness and therefore the need to cure
you through breast reconstruction. But they didn’t. On the contrary,
they became your facilitators. They saw you, as you saw yourself, a
women, one with those very definitive markers of femininity : breasts.
Why is it that cosmetic surgeries for women skip the pathologisation
that is mandatory for trans people all over the world? Why is it that
medicine cannot facilitate trans people in the same way and grant them
the same dignity of self identity?

Just like many of my trans brothers, sisters and lovers, I become
complicit. I agreed to patholozise my gender identity. I agreed to let
the psychiatrist issue me a certificate for Gender Identity Dysphoria
[GID]. If I was to lose my breasts, I needed those gatekeepers to let
me in. You had the BRCA1 to open the big wide doors of reconstructive
surgery for you. And I had my GID certificate. I let them say, I am
mentally ill. I let them say it on paper. I signed on an affidavit
stating this was my consent and that I was totally responsible for
whatever the surgeries would result in.

In a world with greater understanding, removing my breasts should have
been seen as my ‘aesthetic choice’ ; a choice exercised in the
severely limited societal understanding of gender, as being either
only male or only female. But you’d agree that medicine being
organized on the central idea of disease or, as you now have made so
public, the possibility of it, is ill equipped at the moment, for such
fine abstractions as mine. I knew success when I saw my psychiatrist
scribble on his over qualified letterhead: “Diagnosis: G.I.D.’ Just
like you, I too finally, made a ‘medical choice’. That I was as smart
in 1997, as you are in 2013, makes me feel rather pleased with myself!
Perhaps, this is a sign? Perhaps I will be a celebrity soon! Perhaps I
will meet you at the next Cannes film festival and we can rule the
world together?! Two Celebrity Bilateral Mastectomy Survivors, with
reconstructed breasts on one, is better than none?! No?!

Satya is the founder & facilitator of the Indian Trans Group, Sampoorna

 

Refashioning the Breast- Angeila Jolie #Breastcancer


Modern Medicine and Dispensable Female Body Parts

Vol – XLVIII No. 20, May 18, 2013 | G Arunima

Expressing unease with the celebration of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy, this article argues that the medical industry has played a masterstroke by casting the mastectomy debate in terms of an older “rights discourse” of the women’s movement. It suggests that the feminist and progressive movement hit back by asking questions to the scientific establishment about access, costs, and the necessity of specific forms of treatment. That may be the way forward towards not only accountability to “consumers”, but actually for equitable health-care for all.

G Arunima (arunima.gopinath@gmail.com) is with the Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

In this last week, social media, blogs, websites, and news sites have been awash with reports, and opinions, about Angelina Jolie’s preventive mastectomy. Apparently falling in a genetically high risk category, she chose this procedure for both breasts, so that she would be there “for [her] children”. She, as the tagline goes, chose life over cancer. Mostly enthusiastic, reports are also describing this as something “brave”, applauding her for “coming out” about this, in order to help other women.

Consuming Health

So I ask myself – why am I not responding to this with the requisite amount of enthusiasm, indeed euphoria, that seems to be accompanying the media coup of the week. In part, this is to do with an instinctive mistrust of the manner in which modern technology in the last few decades has invaded and displaced all other forms of medical care, creating simultaneously a kind of pseudo scientific common sense.

The Jolie case itself reveals many elements of this. For instance, the liberal references to percentages, without ever clarifying sample sizes, racial or national contexts, or age profiles, is a classic instance of the misuse of statistics. Most reports mention hitherto unheard of genes (except presumably in medical circles) and within a mere forty eight hours or so the BRCA gene has achieved a resounding degree of notoriety. The combination of math and science in this fashion, needless to say, is a noxious cocktail. And as marketing strategy, not entirely unfamiliar.

Indeed, the steady shift to technological interventions, and medical procedures involving multiple levels of assessments (“tests”) has been undergirded by what can be termed as the ‘genetic turn’ in popular scientific discourse. As someone untrained in any kind of science, medical or otherwise, it would not be my place to mount a critique of developments in the field. However, having been reduced to being a “consumer”, like millions of others, my response to these trends is primarily one of bewilderment, accompanied by mistrust of a medical system that’s clearly making huge profits whilst subtly introducing anxieties about possible health risks that one might embody, utterly unbeknownst to oneself.

Living in a country with practically no public, or affordable, health care, the growth of the medical industry and new accompanying technologies holds frightening prospects. Other than the fact that the emerging “super specialty” hospitals price the average Indian out, it also successfully instils in everyone’s minds that this is the only form of health care that could provide medical solutions. In an almost caricatured version of neoclassical economic logic of supply creating demand, the profusion of technologies has resulted in a mindless multiplication of tests, where a body becomes the sum of its test results. In this light, the case of women’s health, and bodies, becomes particularly relevant.

The Economy of Predictive Interventions

A frightening dimension of this is the manner in which women’s health has so easily been reduced to reproductive health. In part a UN inspired move, it has, certainly from the 1990s been accompanied by large amounts of focused funding and the emergence of a cottage industry apparently generating research in this area. Two correlates of this phenomenon – albeit leading in opposite directions – have been huge money spinners. One is the increasing medical common sense of preventive intervention in the form of hysterectomies; the other has been in the area of assisted reproductive technologies. Here I want to dwell briefly on the hysterectomy, and what this trend signifies.

Purely impressionistically speaking (and this is an area in which detailed, and reliable statistics would be very welcome) hysterectomies have been increasing at an alarming pace in this country. In states like Kerala, women are routinely advised to remove their uterus, sometimes ovaries, after about 40. The assumption here is that a woman who’s had her children, or past “reproductive” age, doesn’t require this organ. The justification is normally provided on the basis of the existence of uterine fibroids, which could, within this new language of science as dire prediction, eventually lead to malignancy.1

Needless to say, other than the costs and fear that accompany such procedures, most women are also not advised about the short or long term after effects that such surgery could have. The idea of woman as reproductive vessel – with use value during menstruating years – is at least as old as organised religion. Yet there is something else that appears to be happening at this moment of (reproductive) organ dispensability. It is about the manner in which medical discourses are inflected by industry concerns, in which the fear that is generated reaps fine dividends. It is therefore quite educative to see the nascent preventive mastectomy industry emerging, complete with its gene patenting, testing and surgical costs.2

The Gaze on the Breast

In possibly what was one of the earliest feminist reflections on mastectomy, the poet Audre Lorde wrote movingly of her experience in Cancer Journals.3 Far more than Angelina Jolie’s highly publicised “brave” disclosure, Lorde’s quiet voice had powerfully engaged both the trauma of fighting cancer, the then prevalent surgical interventions, and the ‘solutions’ that were on offer. Going to the heart of the economy, and gender politics, of the mastectomy industry Lorde, rejecting prosthetic solutions, asked why “looking normal” would help any woman heal? How unlike Jolie, who has probably given millions to her plastic surgeon for “reconstructive surgery”,4 and has been selected poster girl for the medical industry. This then brings me to the last set of issues I wish to raise here – about the woman’s body, its parts, and the contemporary moment in “disease management”.

In her insightful, and racy, A History of the Breast, Marilyn Yalom rightly points to the need to read the breast not merely as unmediated biological fact, but also as a site of multiple discourses.5 She tracks the manner in which the biological or nurturant function of the breast has been inflected by the erotic, as indeed the scientific and medical. Posed perilously at the intersection of differing, and often competing, attention the breast has constantly evoked desires, fears, and fantasies.

The breast, unlike the uterus (which too has been the produced via multiple discourses) has increasingly been fetishised as a potent, and complex, sign of a woman’s beauty. This has led to its being subject to intensive commercial onslaughts, from the corset industry, silicon implants, to nipple piercings. It looms large in both ideas of motherhood and in pornographic representation. Predictably, such excessive attention to particular body parts, and its place in producing ideal womanhood (reproductive and sexy) has led to a certain kind of feminist unease with women’s bodies.

Often when some feminists speak of throwing away their uteruses or breasts, they are rejecting the tyranny, and consequences, of such an overdetermined gaze on particular female organs. Yet frighteningly, the market savvy medical industry feeds off precisely such views, and produces new regimes of health care that will deliver, rather cold bloodedly, precisely such results at prohibitive costs. Not only that, it also produces an apparently apolitical “scientific” rationale for its marketing strategy.

What is Normal?

Needless to say, this trend of preventive surgical science coexists quite comfortably with heteronormative and patriarchal ideas about women, their bodies, and sexuality in general. Writing of the complexity of trans lives, the historian Afsaneh Najmabadi’s nuanced discussion of the Iranian context maps how sex change surgeries are framed within the utterly objectionable language of “curing” abnormality and deviance.6 Similarly, trans artist James Cameron’s work, with great irony and power, unmasks ideas, and desires, that undergird dominant notions of masculinity. His triptych “God’s Will” where he parodies body builders, using props of syringes, knives and light bulbs, also constantly references the body as ‘performance’ and its being reconstituted continually through acts of self-fashioning.7

I think it is extremely urgent that we engage, and utilise profitably the insights gained from trans experience, with its critique of “normal” bodies, sexuality, and indeed patriarchy. Yes, women must take charge of their bodies and selves. Yet this cannot happen in the absence of a demand for greater accountability and transparency from the medical scientific empire whose solutions are invariably industry driven.

Genetic focus, and folding back into specific women, and their personal histories, needs to be offset by a wider understanding of growing numbers of new cancers, often in people with no identifiable genetic disposition. In other words, its time that we demand that governments, and the medical establishment, invest money and research in understanding the relationship between food, lifestyle, environment and changing global health trends. Can this happen without rethinking development, economy and the very nature of the political process?

Casting the mastectomy debate in terms of an older ‘rights discourse’ of the women’s movement is a masterstroke by the medical industry. I would suggest we hit back by asking feminist inspired questions to the scientific establishment about access, costs, and the necessity of specific forms of treatment. That may be the way forward towards not only accountability to ‘consumers’, but actually for equitable health-care for all.

References

1.Many oncologists, and researchers, would now agree that myomectomy is a far cheaper, and easier, way of dealing with uterine fibroids. This, however, is rarely suggested to patients by the medical establishment. Nor does it engage productively the completely foolproof natural health care regimes that have proven histories of fibroid management.

2. http://jezebel.com/angelinas-cancer-gene-is-actually-patented-by-a-compa…

3. Audre Lorde,(1980) Cancer Journals, Aunt Lute Books.

4. “Angelina Jolie’s story boosts awareness of breast reconstruction, local plastic surgeon says” The Record.com, 17 May, 2013.

5. Marilyn Yalom, A History of the Breast.

6. Afsaneh Najmabadi, “Transing and Transpassing across Sex-Gender Walls in Iran”, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 36:3 & 4,(Fall/Winter 2008).

7. Melanie Taylor, “Peter(A Young English Girl): Visualizing Transgender Masculinities”, Camera Obscura, 56, Volume 19, No. 2.

EXPOSED: Angelina Jolie part of a clever corporate scheme to protect billions in BRCA gene patents


 Influence Supreme Court decision (opinion)

Thursday, May 16, 2013(NaturalNews) Angelina Jolie’s announcement of undergoing a double mastectomy (surgically removing both breasts) even though she had no breast cancer is not the innocent, spontaneous, “heroic choice” that has been portrayed in the mainstream media. Natural News has learned it all coincides with a well-timed for-profit corporate P.R. campaign that has been planned for months and just happens to coincide with the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the viability of the BRCA1 patent.

This is the investigation the mainstream media refuses to touch. Here, I explain the corporate financial ties, investors, mergers, human gene patents, lawsuits, medical fear mongering and thetrillions of dollars that are at stake here. If you pull back the curtain on this one, you find far more than an innocent looking woman exercising a “choice.” This is about protecting trillions in profits through the deployment of carefully-crafted public relations campaigns designed to manipulate the public opinion of women.

The signs were all there from the beginning of the scheme: Angelina Jolie’s highly polished and obviously corporate-written op-ed piece at the New York Times, the carefully-crafted talking points invoking “choice” as a politically-charged keyword, and the obvious coaching of even her husband Brad Pitt who carefully describes the entire experience using words like “stronger” and “pride” and “family.”

But the smoking gun is the fact that Angelina Jolie’s seemingly spontaneous announcement magically appeared on the cover of People Magazine this week — a magazine that is usually finalized for publication three weeks before it appears on newsstands. That cover, not surprisingly, uses the same language found in the NYT op-ed piece: “HER BRAVE CHOICE” and “This was the right thing to do.” The flowery, pro-choice language is not a coincidence.

What this proves is that Angelina’s Jolie’s announcement was a well-planned corporate P.R. campaign with carefully-crafted messages designed to influence public opinion. But what could Jolie be seeking to influence?

…how about trillions of dollars in corporate profits?

Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision to rule on patent viability for BRCA1 gene

Angelina Jolie’s announcement and all its carefully-crafted language had four notable immediate impacts:

1) It caused women everywhere to be terrified of breast cancer through the publishing of false statistics that drove fear into the hearts of anyone with breasts. (See below for explanation.)

2) It caused women to rush out and seek BRCA1 gene testing procedures. These tests just happen to be patented by a for-profit corporation called “Myriad Genetics.” Because of this patent, BRCA1 tests can cost $3,000 – $4,000 each. The testing alone is a multi-billion-dollar market, but only if the patent is upheld in an upcoming Supreme Court decision (see below).

3) It caused the stock price of Myriad Genetics (MYGN) to skyrocket to a 52-week high. “Myriad’s stock closed up 3% Tuesday, following the publication of the New York Times op-ed,” wrote Marketwatch.com.

4) It drove public opinion to influence the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision to rule in favor of corporate ownership of human genes (see more below).

Women all over the world are being duped into supporting Angeline Jolie, having no idea that what she’s really doing is selling out women to the for-profit cancer industry. But to fully understand what’s happening, you have to dig deeper…

Myriad Genetics sees stock price skyrocket thanks to Jolie, and Obamacare will funnel billions their way

“Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics (MYGN) holds the patent on the test that determined the actress had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, as well as the genes themselves,” wrote MarketWatch.com.

And that’s only the beginning. If the U.S. Supreme Court can be influenced to uphold Myriad’s patent, it could mean a trillion-dollar industry over just the next few years. Even more, Myriad Genetics is reportedly “ripe for mergers” according to the financial press, because it’s part of the super-hot human genome industry.

“The world’s largest maker of DNA testing and analysis tools, Life Technologies Corp. said that it is set to be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific for a record $13.6 billion,” writes MarketWatch.com. “A race that kicked into high gear more than 26 years ago is heating up, with foreign governments and corporations joining the U.S. in funding the quest to map all the human genomes. And even as the recent flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the genomics space has spurred returns, investors still have opportunities to profit from this multibillion-dollar industry.”

The higher Myriad’s stock price goes, the more profitable a merger becomes for its current owners. So Jolie’s P.R. stunt just happened to generate unknown millions of dollars in value for the very people who claim a patent monopoly over the breast cancer genes residing in the bodies of women. Coincidence? Hardly.

Obamacare mandates taxpayers pay for BRCA gene testing: yet another government handout to wealthy corporations

But here’s what’s even more crooked about all this: You know how Obama likes to talk “free market” but actually engages in so-called “crony capitalism” by handing out money to all his corporate buddies, Wall Street insiders and deep-pocketed campaign donors? Part of Obamacare — the “Affordable Care Act” — mandates that taxpayers pay for BRCA1 genetic testing!

Myriad Genetics, in other words, stands to receive a full-scale windfall of profits mandated by government and pushed into mainstream consciousness through a campaign of “medical terror” fronted by Angelina Jolie and the New York Times. Are you starting to see how this all fits together yet?

This is all one big coordinated corporate sellout of women, and it’s all being hidden by playing the “women’s power” card and using “choice” language to more easily manipulate women. Angelina Jolie, remember, is a key spokesperson for the United Nations, an organization already caught engaged inchild sex slavery and drug running. Although Jolie obviously isn’t engage in that sort of behavior, her job is to covertly influence American women into supporting a carefully-planned, plotted and executed corporate profit campaign that turns women’s bodies into profits.

Here’s why the Supreme Court decision puts trillions of dollars at stake…

Details on the upcoming Supreme Court decision

The ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit in 2009, challenging the corporate ownership of human genes. Anyone who believes in women’s rights, human rights, civil rights or even the right to eat non-GMO foods should immediately agree that corporations should NOT be able to patent human genes and then use those patents to rake in billions of dollars in profits while stifling scientific research into those genes.

A question to all women reading this: Do you believe a corporation in Utah owns your body? If not, you should be opposed to corporate ownership of human genes. It also means you should oppose Angelina Jolie’s P.R. campaign because although she’s running a brilliant public relations campaign, behind the scenes her actions are feeding potentially trillions of dollars of profits directly into the for-profit human gene patenting industry that denies human beings ownership over their own genetic code.

The ACLU explains the basics of its lawsuit against Myriad Genetics as follows:

On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are unconstitutional and invalid. On November 30, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear argument on the patentability of human genes. The ACLU argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 15, 2013. We expect a decision this summer.

On behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals, we have argued that human genes cannot be patented because they are classic products of nature. The suit charges that the gene patents violate the First Amendment and stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women’s options regarding their medical care.

Got that? If the Supreme Court rules against Myriad Genetics, it will cause a multi-billion-dollar breast cancer genetic testing industry to collapse virtually overnight. This means a huge loss for not just Myriad, but also many other human gene corporations that wish to exploit the human body — including the bodies of women — for monopolistic profits. (All patents are government-granted monopolies.) Ultimately, trillions of dollars in corporate gene patents are at stake here.

Patenting human genes is huge business

Today, about 20 percent of your genes are already patented by corporations and universities. As the ACLU explains, “A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone 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.”

This means that when corporations own patents on human genes, it stifles scientific research while granting that corporation a monopoly over the “intellectual property” encoded in your own DNA! (How criminal is that? You decide…)

What this means is that if the Supreme Court rules against Myriad, it would set a precedent that woulddismantle the entire human gene patenting industry, affecting trillions of dollars in future profits.

This, I believe, is the real reason behind Angelina Jolie’s announcement. It seems designed to invoke women’s emotional reactions and create a groundswell of support for corporate-owned genes, thereby handing these corporations a Supreme Court precedent that will ensure trillions in future profits. It’s a for-profit PR stunt that tries to trick women into supporting a corporate system of patents and monopolies that claims, right now, to own portions of the bodies of every woman living today.

While most media outlets have no clue about the patent issues at stake here, the Detroit Free Presstook notice, saying:

“The Hollywood star’s decision to get tested for a breast cancer gene mutation, undergo a double mastectomy and then write about it calls attention to a case now pending before the court. The justices have just weeks to decide if Myriad Genetics’ patent on the two genes that can identify an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer is legal. Critics complain that the company’s monopoly leaves them as the sole source of the $4,000 tests needed to determine each woman’s risk.”

Lying with statistics: Jolie’s 87% risk exaggeration

There’s more to this story than just the patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Angelina Jolie is also using blatantly misleading statistics to terrify women into thinking their breasts might kill them.

In the NYT op-ed piece, Jolie claims her doctor told her she has an “87% risk” of developing breast cancer. But what she didn’t tell you is that this number doesn’t apply to the entire population: it’s actually old data derived almost exclusively from families that were previously documented to have very high risks of breast cancer to begin with.

A study published on the National Human Genome Research Institute website and conducted by scientists from the National Institutes of Health reveals that breast cancer risks associated with BRCA1 genes are significantly lower than what’s being hyped up by Jolie and the mainstream media.

In fact, in a large room of 600 women, only ONE will likely have a BRCA mutation in her genetic code. The actual incidence is 0.125 to 0.25 out of 100 women, or 1 in 400 to 1 in 800. I used 600 as the average of 400 and 800.

And out of that 1 in 600 women who has the mutation, her risk of breast cancer is only 56 percent, not 78 percent as claimed by Jolie. But 13 percent of women without the BRCA mutation get breast cancer anyway, according to this scientific research, so the increased risk is just 43 out of 100 women.

So what we’re really talking about here is 1 in 600 women having a BRCA gene mutation, then less than half of those getting cancer because of it. In other words, only about 1 in 1200 women will be affected by this.

Yet thanks to people like Jolie and the fear-mongering mainstream media, women all across the nation have been terrified into believing their breasts might kill them and the best way to handle the problem is to cut them off!

This, my friends, is the essence of doomsday fear mongering. This issue affects less than one-tenth of one percent of women but is being riled up into a nationwide fear campaign that just happens to feed profits into the for-profit cancer diagnosis and treatment industry, not to mention the monopolistic human gene patenting cartels.

That’s the real story of what’s happening here. Don’t expect to read this in the New York Times.

Corporate media refuses to mention real prevention and treatment options

As part of the breast cancer fear mongering and treatment scam now being run across the mainstream media, nearly all media sources are prohibiting any mention of holistic or natural options for treatment or prevention.

Sure, the media talks about “options,” but all those options just happen to lead back to the for-profit cancer industry. As an example, read this story by ABC News, part of the lying mainstream media that misinforms women and pushes a corporate agenda:

If you do test positive for BRCA, you have options, and you don’t necessarily have to go the Jolie route. Some women choose not to have surgery. Instead, they increase cancer surveillance with imaging tests. These include regular mammograms to test for breast cancer, and regular pelvic sonograms and blood-tests to watch for ovarian cancer.

Nowhere in this article does ABC News mention ways to suppress the BRCA1 gene by, for example, eating raw cruciferous vegetables containing Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), a potent anti-cancer nutrient that halts breast cancer in its tracks. Nowhere does ABC News mention vitamin D which prevents nearly 4 out of 5 cancers of all types, including breast cancer.

Nope, the “options” being pushed by mainstream media are nothing more than mammograms, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy — all owned and run by the for-profit cancer industry that feeds on women and exploits their bodies for profit.

Nor is their any discussion of the total scam of the “pink ribbons” cancer cure industry which is primarily focused on giving women cancer through “free mammograms.” As any scientist or physicist already knows, mammograms cause cancer because they emit ionizing radiation directly into the breast and heart tissues. Get enough mammograms done and sooner or later they will detect breast cancer because they caused it! To date, 1.3 million women have been harmed by mammography.

Thanks, Angelina, for keeping the wool pulled over the eyes of women everywhere while selling out to for-profit, monopolistic, corporate interests that incessantly seek to exploit women for profit.

Photo credit: PEOPLE Magazine cover, used under Fair Use for public commentary and education.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040365_Angelina_Jolie_gene_patents_Supreme_Court_decision.html#ixzz2TiCfqwCS

 

Fearless Nadia Hunterwali, once more #Sundayreading #cinema


India may have forgotten Mary Ann Evans, but the world is heaping praises on her. As Australia, her birth country, pays a tribute to India’s original stunt queen, Saadia S Dhailey ruminates on the life and times of Fearless Nadia

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

FEARLESS Nadia, aka Mary Ann Evans, burst onto the screen in the 1930s, juggling whips, swords, guns, and sometimes even landing mean punches with her bare hands, to set the villains straight. In this blonde, blueeyed ballet dancer, filmmaker JBH Wadia found his feminist icon, who could carry a social and political message at a time when Indian actresses played dainty damsels in distress, waiting to be rescued by their knights in shining armour.
From her first film, Hunterwali (The Princess and the Hunter) in 1935, Evans was a huge hit and went on to redefine the image of a woman on screen. She changed her name to Nadia after being advised by a fortuneteller and her nom de plume ‘Fearless Nadia’ was acquired from her days as a circus acrobat. To the pre-Independence era audience, Fearless Nadia was the first of her kind.
She would single-handedly fight a gang of men, jump from one moving vehicle to another, hang from chandeliers, and spout dialogues like no woman ever had till then, anywhere in the world. Author and documentary filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir watched Diamond Queen sometime in the late 1970s, and she will always remember Nadia’s famous dialogue that still rings true: “If India is to be free, women must be given their freedom. If you try and stop them, you’ll face the consequences”. Says Kabir, “In the early days of Indian cinema, our stunt films copied the Hollywood films of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. But it was Nadia who made this borrowed genre uniquely Indian by her very presence and unique stunts. Fearless Nadia represented a significant model. She played an original character at a time when the role of women in society was largely conservative and repressive. The
audience knew that she was not Indian, and perhaps the fact that a Westerner was fighting on our side was doubly appealing to them.”
A blonde, blue-eyed girl with Indian character names — Mala (Jungle Ka Jawahar), Savita (Miss Frontier Mail), Madhurika (Diamond Queen) — championing the common man’s causes and fighting for women’s rights was unheard of and unseen before.
Nadia went on to star in about 50 films, (some sources say 60), but as she mainly performed in the stunt genre, unfortunately, she was seen as less of a thespian, largely ignored by Indian cinema historians. That, however, changed in 1993, three years before her death, when Wadia’s grandson, the late Riyad Vinci Wadia, introduced her to the world through a documentary on her life called Fearless: The Hunterwali Story. Screened at various international film festivals, it brought her to the attention of the world, including Australia, where she was born as Mary Ann Evans. Riyad’s brother Roy Wadia, director, Wadia Movietone, tells us, “The documentary generated a lot of interest. When Australians realised the connection Mary had with them, she became very special.”
The ongoing Oz Fest in India has a segment dedicated to her. Australian composer Ben Walsh, who has been providing the music score in an unique live-orchestra format, as one of Nadia’s most famous films Diamond Queen is screened all over India, says, “Why India? I don’t think she still has parallels in the rest of the world.”
Australian journalist Michelle Smith after watching Nadia’s work recently, described her unique style as “a 1930s-esque innocence, juxtaposed with incredible stunts and spiels about women’s rights”. As a gift to India, the Australian High Commission has also undertaken the task to restore the print of this film. “It’s the most mature Nadia film of its kind and really elevated the stunt genre to story-telling,” Roy tells us. Filmmaker Shyam Benegal credits Nadia for giving Indian cinema its first angry young ‘man’. He explains, “She stood for the good and the right in society, which is what Amitabh Bachchan did as an actor in the late 1970s, and became a champion of the common man. Without Fearless Nadia, there would be no Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man.”
Roy, who had the good fortune of knowing her (Mary was married to JBH Wadia’s brother Homi Wadia), says fondly, “She was the only grownup in my family who cracked adult jokes. One among the boys, she loved whisky and had no airs. Mary aunty didn’t buy into her legends and myths!”
Veteran film journalist Rauf Ahmed says, “In those days, Fearless Nadia did stunts that even men didn’t attempt.” Nadia’s grandnephew, Bollywood choreographer, Shiamak Davar, reveals how Nadia’s onscreen persona even charmed Angelina Jolie, who told Shah Rukh Khan once, she would love to play Fearless Nadia if her life is ever captured on celluloid.
With a renewed interest in the life, times and art of Nadia, a film on her, played by one of the most recognizable faces in the world, may not seem like a pipe dream anymore. But Davar still rues the lack of interest in her by the Indian film fraternity. “They pay tributes to everybody, but they have forgotten Mary mai.”

“SHE STOOD FOR THE GOOD AND THE RIGHT IN SOCIETY, WHICH IS WHAT AMITABH BACHCHAN DID AS AN ACTOR IN THE LATE 1970S. WITHOUT FEARLESS NADIA, THERE WOULD BE NO AMITABH BACHCHAN’S ANGRY YOUNG MAN”
— SHYAM BENEGAL, DIRECTOR
WHO WAS FEARLESS NADIA?
Mary Ann Evans, aka Fearless Nadia, was born in Perth, Australia, and came to Bombay in 1913, when she was five. She lived in Colaba with her father Herbert Evans, a Scotsman in the British army, and mother Margaret. After her father’s death in World War I, Evan’s mother took her to Peshawar. There, Mary learned how to hunt, fish, shoot. In 1928, she returned to Bombay with her mother and a son, Robert Jones, about whom not much is known. Nadia decided to learn ballet and recognizing her star quality, her dance teacher invited her to join her troupe that would travel all over India. And not much later, Indian cinema got its first feminist icon. After her glorious stint in films, in 1959, Nadia married Homi Wadia after a long-standing relationship. She then took a sabbatical to enjoy her domestic life and took to breeding race horses.
There’s a lot of interest worldwide about Fearless Nadia. Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has shown interest in playing Nadia’s role if a film on her is ever to be made

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