How Big Data Is Taking On Breast Cancer — And Big Biotech

Ki Mae Heussner | GigaOM | July 30, 2013

Summary: Now that the Supreme Court has decided that human genes can’t be patented, a group of researchers is using high-tech data science to better understand the genetic mutations associated with breast cancer.

Radiation and chemotherapy aren’t the only tools the medical world is using in the fight against breast cancer. To better understand the genetic mutations associated with the cancer, researchers are increasingly turning to another field: data science.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that no one can patent human genes. The decision means that the company on the losing end, Myriad Genetics, is no longer allowed to patent the so-called BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which can indicate breast and ovarian cancer risk if mutations in either gene are found. But even though it lost, the company is not required to release the years of genetic data and interpretations it’s amassed that could help doctors in diagnosing and treating patients.