Advocates for breast cancer patients are ecstatic about the Supreme Court ruling that ended a patent on genetic screening tests for a breast cancer gene.
Now San Diego company Pathway Genomics is preparing to offer a more affordable test to patients.
Angelina Jolie tested positive for a genetic mutation that makes breast and ovarian cancer extremely likely. And after the Supreme Court ruled that DNA tests for those mutations cannot be patented, testing will get cheaper.
That's good news for cancer victim advocates who worry about women who are uninsured.
“These tests, these lifesaving tests will be much more affordable for all of us regardless of how much money is in your pocket.” said Laura Farmer Sherman from the Susan G. Komen chapter in San Diego.
The company Myriad Genetics held the patent for testing on what's called the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and charged anywhere between $3,000-7,000.
After the Supreme Court ruling, local company Pathway Genomics announced that it will offer tests on those genes, and others will likely follow.
“It will result in other laboratories that have the capability of Pathway to offer these tests at a substantially lower price point,” said Jim Plante, the Pathway Genomics Founder and CEO.
Pathway Genomics would not say how much it will charge but promises it will be much less than $3,000.
With an estimated 40,000 people expected to die of breast cancer this year, Pathway Genomics hopes the effects of cheaper genetic testing will be profound.
“It could potentially save tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of lives, said Plante.