Posted 08 December 2011
The Supreme Court considered a major patent case last week that asked whether observed correlations between drug dosages and medical treatment were subject to patent protection.
The patent in question concerns the relationship between thiopurines, which are drugs used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, and metabolites in patients' blood. The patent, owned by Prometheus Laboratories, covers a method said to help doctors find the dose that is large enough to work and small enough to cause no needless harm. The case may have its greatest impact on the field of personalized medicine, an emerging practice that involves determining whether a patient is genetically susceptible to a particular disease or would be especially responsive to certain treatments. (NYTimes)