Dr Stuart Hogarth will be the next speaker for our SSHM Seminar Series on December 4th, with a seminar titled: “Why does everyone hate Myriad Genetics but no-one has ever heard of Digene? Reflections on a biomedical controversy“. Stuart will discuss the emergence of the contemporary bioeconomym which has been predicated on the extension of intellectual property rights to an array of new bio-objects, from stem cells to DNA sequences. Much concern has been expressed about DNA patents as an exemplar of what Clark et al have termed “the corporatization and commodification” of the life sciences. In the diagnostics sector the controversy surrounding Myriad Genetics’ patents on the BRCA1/2 genes has come to dominate the debate about gene patenting. In this paper Stuart will explore the framing of the gene patent debate by asking why other significant DNA patents have not generated public controversy, in particular DNA patents on human papillomavirus which for over ten years gave one company (Digene) a virtual monopoly on molecular cervical cancer screening in the USA.
Stuart is Senior Research Fellow in the Department. Trained initially in the history of medicine, he now works at the interface between medical sociology, bioethics and science and technology studies. In 2012 Stuart was awarded a Wellcome Trust fellowship to conduct a three-year comparative study looking at how DNA patents have affected the development and adoption of HPV tests for cervical cancer screening in the USA, UK and China. Building on this project he is now leading the development of a new research group within the department focused on the molecularisation of oncology. You can read Stuart’s blog, “Gene Values“, where he discusses the ethics and economics of personalised medicine, here.
When: 4th December 2013, 12.00-13.30 Where: Room F-WB 1.20, King’s College Waterloo Campus. All are welcome to attend!