A two-time cancer-surviving grandmother from Brisbane (capital of Queensland, the third-most-populous state in Australia) has won her battle against a bio tech firm in the Unites States that wanted to patent the BRCA-1 cancer gene.
Myriad Genetics, a molecular diagnostic company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, had argued that it held the patent over the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes.
The genes dramatically increase a woman's chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. But Yvonne D'Arcy, 69, said that the genes existed in nature, so were discovered rather than invented.
Though the company succeeded twice in the Federal Court, the Australian High Court overturned those verdicts and ruled unanimously in D'Arcy's favour.
D'Arcy said the Court challenge had been a "David and Goliath" battle.
"I'm only a little person, but it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. For all those people who do have the genetic footprint for breast cancer or any cancer basically, it's a win for them because now they're forewarned," she said, speaking from Brisbane.
She also said that the testing will be a lot more affordable and available, rather than using only Myriad's agents at a price that no-one can really afford.
"I'm just hoping that other countries will see sense and follow us and the Americans," D'Arcy's said.