WASHINGTON (AP) — DNA may be the building block of life, but can something taken from it also be the building block of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly? The question posed in 2013, is better late than never but the damage is done.
Years of medical misappropriations has caused deep seeded resentment amongst communities that have been repeatedly used as lab rats. In the case of Henrietta Lacks, an African American mother from Baltimore Maryland essentially had her genes hijacked by the medical community when it was found that a rare cancer that she possessed, could benefit other areas of medical revelations.
The Supreme Court grapples Monday with the question of whether human genes can be patented. Its ultimate answer could reshape U.S. medical research, the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer and the multi-billion dollar medical and biotechnology business.
“The intellectual framework that comes out of the decision could have a significant impact on other patents — for antibiotics, vaccines, hormones, stem cells and diagnostics on infectious microbes that are found in nature,” Robert Cook-Deegan, director for genome ethics, law & policy at Duke University, said in a statement.
There are many ramifications that could result from this type of radical step to protect one’s genes. There could also be many reasons that are unknown to the general public for such a need.
What happened to client confidentiality? When anyone goes to a lawyer, doctor or other medical facility-the treatment received and the information shared is now no longer protected by that caveat. Playing God is rampant and must be controlled. Many clients seeking the assistance of medical professionals are not versed in clearly stating their preferences, desires, needs and boundaries. Yes boundaries!
Recently while exploring a possible hernia, it was made abundantly clear to the medical staff that was selected to explore the situation-that being a human guinea pig was not an option. Invasive irrelevant medicines were also not an option. Invasive irrelevant surgeries was also not an option. However, in trusting the medical community to know what they are doing with regards to very individual anatomical beings is a crap shoot.
As stated, this protection comes well after the case of Henrietta Lacks but may in fact be valuable in the families case to retroactively regain what was stolen from their mother’s medical petri dish and given to the world without their knowledge nor consent. It is highly unlikely, but the arguement may finally be heard regarding curtailing rogue methods exacted by medical communities to extract organisms from other unsuspecting clients.
It is concerning that the internal threat of ‘stealing’ ones genetic composition is very present within this society. Medical companies are becoming more vigilant in their pursuits to be the ‘stand out’ go to company for healing and/or temporary remedy.
….and we must stand ready to advocate on our own behalf!