No, No, It’s Not October

As you may remember, last October I profiled Breast Cancer Action’s “Think Before You Pink” campaign. I had every intention of doing that again this October, and probably will, but something has come to my attention that can’t wait 4 months, it can’t wait four weeks, four hours, or four minutes.

Let me attempt to sum up a complex issue. What it comes down is this; corporations can hold the patent rights to genes. I found it a bit concerning when I learned this was being done with regards to food (you know, a corporation holds the patent on a gene to some super corn or what have you) but I became alarmed when I realized that a single corporation holds the patent rights to the human genes linked to cancer. Seriously, I can’t make this shit up.

What does it mean for a single corporation to hold the rights to the genes? Well, for starters, any science lab, university, or outside corporation has to pay Myriad (the corporation with the patent) for access to the gene for testing and experimentation. That makes it harder and more expensive for research to be done by anyone other than Myriad. Also, because they own the rights to the genes, they also own the rights to certain tests. This means it’s difficult to impossible for a woman to get a second opinion with regards to the test results.

It means research is limited and access is expensive and difficult to get. I’m not a scientist, but I suspect this all falls under the category of “Bad Things”, unless you’re a scientist working for Myriad, in which case, rock on.

Fortunately, the “Bad Girls of Breast Cancer” are on the job! Breast Cancer Action has joined up with the ACLU to file a lawsuit challenging the legality of patenting “human breast genes”. As far as I’m aware, Breast Cancer Action is the only breast cancer organization that has taken to arms against this dangerous situation.

If you would like to help, I encourage you to visit Breast Cancer Action’s website and make a donation. I know money is tight for most of us, but even $10 shows that you care and support their fight. Another way to help is to visit the ACLU’s website and make a donation to help them in all their fights to help Americans hold onto and regain their civil liberties.

Do me a favor; take 5 minutes to watch the following video. Thanks. (Next post will be something fun and possibly magic related…promise.)

And to prove I mean what I say, this email just showed up in my inbox (some of the content has been edited for privacy).

Please note that this donation will appear on your credit card statement as Network for Good, which processed this donation on behalf of Breast Cancer Action.

Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. You may save or print this receipt for your records. This email certifies that you have made this donation as a charitable contribution and you are not receiving any goods or services in return. This receipt may be useful to you when completing your tax return.

Name: Rebecca Elson
State/Province: NY
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Country: United States

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Name on Credit Card: Rebecca Elson
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Base Donation Amount: $15.00
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Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009
Time: 5:26 PM EST
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Nonprofit Organization: Breast Cancer Action
Address: 55 New Montgomery St. Ste 323, San Francisco, CA 94105