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Who Owns Your Genome? John Moore, an engineer working on the Alaska oil pipeline, was diagnosed in the mid-1970s with a rare and fatal form of cancer known as hairy cell leukemia. This disease causes overproduction of one type of white blood cell known as a T lymphocyte. Moore went to the UCLA Medical Center for treatment and was examined by Dr. David Golde, who recommended that Moore’s spleen be removed in an attempt to slow down or stop the cancer. For the next 8 years, John Moore returned to UCLA for checkups. Unknown to Moore, Dr. Golde and his research assistant applied for and received a patent on a cell line and products of that cell line derived from Moore’s spleen. The cell line, named Mo, produced a protein that stimulates the growth of two types of blood cells that are important in identifying and killing cancer cells. Arrangements were made with Genetics Institute, a small start-up company, and then Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, to develop the cell line and produce the growth-stimulating protein. Moore found out about the cell line and its related patents and filed suit to claim ownership of his cells and asked for a share of the profits derived from the sale of the cells or products from the cells. Eventually, the case went through three courts, and in July 1990—n years after the case began—the California Supreme Court ruled that patients such as John Moore do not have property rights over any cells or tissues removed from their bodies that are used later to develop drugs or other commercial products. This case was the first in the nation to establish a legal precedent for the commercial development and use of human tissue. The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 prevents the sale of human organs. Current laws allow the sale of human tissues and cells but do not define ownership interests of donors. Questions originally raised in the Moore case remain largely unresolved in laws and public policy. These questions are being raised in many other cases as well. Who owns fetal and adult stem-cell lines established from donors, and who has ownership of and a commercial interest in diagnostic tests developed through cell and tissue donations by affected individuals? Who benefits from new genetic technologies based on molecules, cells, or tissues contributed by patients? Are these financial, medical, and ethical benefits being distributed fairly? What can be done to ensure that risks and benefits are distributed in an equitable manner? Gaps between technology, laws, and public policy developed with the advent of recombinant DNA technology in the 1970s, and in the intervening decades, those gaps have not been closed. These controversies are likely to continue as new developments in technology continue to outpace social consensus about their use. Do you think that donors or patients who provide cells and/or tissues should retain ownership of their body parts or should share in any financial benefits that might derive from their use in research or commercial applications?

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Human Heredity: Principles and Iss...

11th Edition
Michael Cummings
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305251052

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Human Heredity: Principles and Iss...

11th Edition
Michael Cummings
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305251052
Chapter 15.1, Problem 2EG
Textbook Problem
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Who Owns Your Genome?

John Moore, an engineer working on the Alaska oil pipeline, was diagnosed in the mid-1970s with a rare and fatal form of cancer known as hairy cell leukemia. This disease causes overproduction of one type of white blood cell known as a T lymphocyte. Moore went to the UCLA Medical Center for treatment and was examined by Dr. David Golde, who recommended that Moore’s spleen be removed in an attempt to slow down or stop the cancer. For the next 8 years, John Moore returned to UCLA for checkups. Unknown to Moore, Dr. Golde and his research assistant applied for and received a patent on a cell line and products of that cell line derived from Moore’s spleen. The cell line, named Mo, produced a protein that stimulates the growth of two types of blood cells that are important in identifying and killing cancer cells. Arrangements were made with Genetics Institute, a small start-up company, and then Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, to develop the cell line and produce the growth-stimulating protein. Moore found out about the cell line and its related patents and filed suit to claim ownership of his cells and asked for a share of the profits derived from the sale of the cells or products from the cells. Eventually, the case went through three courts, and in July 1990—n years after the case began—the California Supreme Court ruled that patients such as John Moore do not have property rights over any cells or tissues removed from their bodies that are used later to develop drugs or other commercial products.

This case was the first in the nation to establish a legal precedent for the commercial development and use of human tissue.

The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 prevents the sale of human organs. Current laws allow the sale of human tissues and cells but do not define ownership interests of donors. Questions originally raised in the Moore case remain largely unresolved in laws and public policy. These questions are being raised in many other cases as well. Who owns fetal and adult stem-cell lines established from donors, and who has ownership of and a commercial interest in diagnostic tests developed through cell and tissue donations by affected individuals? Who benefits from new genetic technologies based on molecules, cells, or tissues contributed by patients? Are these financial, medical, and ethical benefits being distributed fairly? What can be done to ensure that risks and benefits are distributed in an equitable manner?

Gaps between technology, laws, and public policy developed with the advent of recombinant DNA technology in the 1970s, and in the intervening decades, those gaps have not been closed. These controversies are likely to continue as new developments in technology continue to outpace social consensus about their use.

Do you think that donors or patients who provide cells and/or tissues should retain ownership of their body parts or should share in any financial benefits that might derive from their use in research or commercial applications?

Summary Introduction

To determine: Whether the patients or donors should retain ownership of their discarded cells or share any financial benefits that might arise from the use of their cells in research/ commercial applications.

Introduction:  The lawsuit filed by Mr. Moore was the first case in the nation to establish a legal precedent for the commercial production and the use of human cells or tissues. The current laws allow the sale of human tissues and cells. However, these laws fail to define the ownership interest of donors.

Explanation of Solution

John Moore was diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia (a rare and fatal form of cancer) in the mid-1970s. The patient went to the UCLA Medical Center for treatment and was examined by Dr. David Golde. The doctor recommended the removal of the spleen in an attempt to slow down or stop cancer.

Dr. Golde and his research assistant worked on Moore’s cancerous cells and developed a cell line. Dr. Golde and his research assistant received a patent on the cell line. The cell line was commercially developed to produce a specific protein. The patient (Mr. Moore) found out about the cell line and filed a lawsuit to claim the ownership of his cells...

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