FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
December 21, 1995 | By Marie McCullough, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER This article includes information from the Associated Press
Two separate scientific groups say they have discovered a second major breast cancer susceptibility gene. In today's issue of the journal Nature, an international team of scientists reports it has isolated a large part of the gene, called BRCA2. And in Salt Lake City, Myriad Genetics Inc., a genetic testing company, says it has identified the entire gene in collaboration with researchers at the University of Utah and the University of Pennsylvania. "Myriad scientists have cloned . . . the complete sequence of this gene," the company said in a statement, adding that it would publish the sequence on an Internet database today.
NEWS
April 19, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Researchers who study hereditary breast and ovarian cancer call it "the Angelina Jolie Effect. " They reported a sustained global surge in requests for BRCA genetic testing after the actress wrote about her preventive mastectomy two years ago. Last month, she gave another boost to awareness when she wrote about her recent surgery to remove her ovaries. But raising awareness hasn't necessarily lowered barriers, BRCA experts say. People seeking to identify and manage their inherited cancer risk often confront conflicting, confusing medical guidelines, test options, and insurance coverage.
LIVING
October 4, 1999 | By Marie McCullough, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Fifteen years ago, landmark research showed that early-stage breast-cancer patients didn't have to lose their diseased breasts to be cured. Removing just the cancerous lump and radiating the breast was as effective as cutting it off. But the recent advent of testing for breast-cancer susceptibility genes has raised new questions about the best way to treat those women who inherit them. A study in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that hereditary breast-cancer patients may indeed be better off with mastectomy - perhaps even double mastectomy - because they are at high risk of cancer recurrence.
NEWS
August 11, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Vicki Wolf was only 36 when she was first diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. After her third diagnosis 11 years later, the native Philadelphian had a genetic test that revealed what she dreaded and expected: She had inherited a mutation in a gene that made her susceptible to the disease. She urged her brother, Harvey I. Singer, to get genetic testing and counseling, but he shrugged off the idea. "I said, 'I'm a guy.' To me, breast cancer was just something women get," Singer recalled.
NEWS
August 21, 2002 | Daily News wire services
Food from cloned animals is safe to eat, study says Food and biomedical products from cloned and genetically engineered animals pose no significant health risks, a Academy of Sciences panel said yesterday. In a one-year study, researchers said there was a "low probability" that food from cloned livestock would trigger allergic reactions. The Food and Drug Administration, which requested the study, is preparing to decide whether to allow marketing of products from cloned cattle.
NEWS
June 21, 2010 | By Faye Flam, Inquirer Staff Writer
In 1998, Penn geneticists Arupa Ganguly and Haig Kazazian were ordered to stop offering women a test for genetic mutations that carry a dire risk of breast cancer. Myriad Genetics Inc. accused the researchers of patent infringement and threatened them with a lawsuit. They weren't even using a test patented by Myriad. Ganguly had pioneered a new way to read these genes and devised her own test. But Myriad held a patent on the genes themselves. Now both University of Pennsylvania scientists have been pulled into a lawsuit that could not only strip Myriad of its patents but end the 30-year-old practice of patenting human genes.
NEWS
October 16, 2012
From today through Oct. 17, Philly.com and The Inquirer will mark breast cancer awareness month by publishing a profile a day of transformative moments reported by patients. The series culminates in a special Philly.com/health Inquirer section on Oct. 18, and can be viewed at www.philly.com/breastcancer . "My little Sister, Debbi, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer when she was 29 years old and pregnant," said Traci Walters of Texas. "They induced labor about a month early because the tumor was growing so fast because she was pregnant.
NEWS
December 16, 2013 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
Your mother or sister has just told you she tested positive for a mutation in one of her BRCA genes, meaning her risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer is much higher than normal. And there is a 50 percent chance you have the same mutation. Do you get yourself tested? All too often, the answer is no, according to a new study by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The authors interviewed 438 close relatives of 253 women who had shared results of their tests for cancer-causing mutations in the genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
BUSINESS
April 17, 2013 | By Robert Field, For The Inquirer
The U.S. Supreme Court hearing Monday on whether human genes can be patented cuts to the heart of law, science, and even philosophy: Should a firm have exclusive rights to use the genetic code in your cells? Patients, researchers, and the life-sciences industry all have much at stake. But beneath the dispute lies an issue that may be more important in the long run. Who should own the aggregated information that companies compile with gene patents? The issue was not raised in the hour-long hearing Monday before the court, but it's critical.
NEWS
May 15, 1997 | By Marie McCullough, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Only 7 percent of women with hereditary breast cancer are likely to have a defective BRCA1 gene, making the so-called breast cancer gene far less prevalent than scientists originally estimated, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers. However, the researchers also found that the likelihood of a BRCA1 mutation is extremely high in families with histories of both breast and ovarian cancer - especially Ashkenazi Jewish families, a high-risk group. The new study, published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, is renewing debate over the value of widespread testing for breast cancer gene mutations.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
April 19, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Researchers who study hereditary breast and ovarian cancer call it "the Angelina Jolie Effect. " They reported a sustained global surge in requests for BRCA genetic testing after the actress wrote about her preventive mastectomy two years ago. Last month, she gave another boost to awareness when she wrote about her recent surgery to remove her ovaries. But raising awareness hasn't necessarily lowered barriers, BRCA experts say. People seeking to identify and manage their inherited cancer risk often confront conflicting, confusing medical guidelines, test options, and insurance coverage.
NEWS
August 11, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Vicki Wolf was only 36 when she was first diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. After her third diagnosis 11 years later, the native Philadelphian had a genetic test that revealed what she dreaded and expected: She had inherited a mutation in a gene that made her susceptible to the disease. She urged her brother, Harvey I. Singer, to get genetic testing and counseling, but he shrugged off the idea. "I said, 'I'm a guy.' To me, breast cancer was just something women get," Singer recalled.
NEWS
December 16, 2013 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
Your mother or sister has just told you she tested positive for a mutation in one of her BRCA genes, meaning her risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer is much higher than normal. And there is a 50 percent chance you have the same mutation. Do you get yourself tested? All too often, the answer is no, according to a new study by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The authors interviewed 438 close relatives of 253 women who had shared results of their tests for cancer-causing mutations in the genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
BUSINESS
April 17, 2013 | By Robert Field, For The Inquirer
The U.S. Supreme Court hearing Monday on whether human genes can be patented cuts to the heart of law, science, and even philosophy: Should a firm have exclusive rights to use the genetic code in your cells? Patients, researchers, and the life-sciences industry all have much at stake. But beneath the dispute lies an issue that may be more important in the long run. Who should own the aggregated information that companies compile with gene patents? The issue was not raised in the hour-long hearing Monday before the court, but it's critical.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2013 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
As legal questions go, it is very succinct: Can human genes be patented? To the uninitiated, and at least two judges, it might seem obvious - or absurd. How can you get a patent for human genes? Aren't genes part of the human body, part of nature? Can you get a patent for a human leg or kidney, or the sun or the moon? The U.S. Supreme Court will wrestle with the question of whether human genes are patentable during oral arguments Monday in a case that could have huge implications for people needing cancer testing, scientific researchers, and pharmaceutical organizations, but also agricultural producers, other industries, and, perhaps, individual liberty.
NEWS
October 16, 2012
From today through Oct. 17, Philly.com and The Inquirer will mark breast cancer awareness month by publishing a profile a day of transformative moments reported by patients. The series culminates in a special Philly.com/health Inquirer section on Oct. 18, and can be viewed at www.philly.com/breastcancer . "My little Sister, Debbi, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer when she was 29 years old and pregnant," said Traci Walters of Texas. "They induced labor about a month early because the tumor was growing so fast because she was pregnant.
NEWS
September 8, 2012 | By Maria Cheng, Associated Press
LONDON - Mammograms aimed at finding breast cancer might actually raise the chances of developing it in young women whose genes put them at higher risk for the disease, a study by leading European cancer agencies suggests. The added radiation from mammograms and other types of tests with chest radiation might be especially harmful to them, and an MRI is probably a safer method of screening women under 30 who are at high risk because of gene mutations, the authors conclude. The study cannot prove a link between the radiation and breast cancer, but it is one of the biggest ever to look at the issue.
NEWS
November 14, 2011 | By Mitchell Hecht, For The Inquirer
Question: Do you think "prophylactic" mastectomy is rather extreme? Answer: Removal of healthy breast tissue as a prophylactic (preventive) effort to prevent breast cancer from occurring or reoccurring is a controversial but deeply personal decision. There are several varied situations where prophylactic mastectomies are performed: (1) Previous breast cancer in one breast; (2) Strong family history of breast cancer; (3) Presence of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation for breast cancer; (4)
NEWS
October 3, 2011 | By Gloria Hochman, FOR THE INQUIRER
My cousin Gail Katz could have told me how surgery and chemotherapy saved her life. Instead, she told me how breast reconstruction saved her soul. Gail was 42 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. The tumor was small, a bit over one centimeter, and had not spread to her lymph nodes. But because she was relatively young, her doctor recommended chemotherapy and radiation after her lumpectomy. During the next several years, Gail's mother and maternal aunt were diagnosed with the same condition, which prompted Gail's visit to a genetics counselor and subsequent genetic testing.
NEWS
October 3, 2011 | By Rita Rubin, FOR THE INQUIRER
They call themselves "previvors. " Genetic testing revealed they had a high lifetime risk of breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer. Their genetic predisposition sets them apart from other healthy women and from genetically predisposed women who've already been diagnosed with cancer. For some previvors, such as Sandy Cohen of Lafayette Hill, breast cancer had cut a swath through their families. They grew up thinking it was only a matter of time until they, too, followed their mothers and grandmothers into the oncologist's office.
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