Press Release

AACC Annual Meeting Late-Breaking Session on Supreme Court Gene Patent Ruling Features ACLU Lead Counsel Sandra Park

WASHINGTON – AACC is pleased to announce the addition of a late-breaking session, The Supreme Court Decision on Human Gene Patents and Its Implications, to its scientific program at the 2013 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Houston.  

On June 13, the Supreme Court ruled that genes isolated from human DNA cannot be patented because they are "products of nature," but that complementary DNA (cDNA) is patent eligible because it is "not naturally occurring." This landmark ruling will have a significant impact on modern healthcare, but many questions remain about just what it will mean for innovation in genetic research and testing.

Session moderator Barbara Zehnbauer, PhD, chief of the laboratory research and evaluation branch within the division of laboratory science and standards at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will take on this question on July 30 with speakers Roger D. Klein, MD, JD, FCAP, a molecular pathologist and attorney at Cleveland Clinic and Sandra S. Park, JD, the senior staff attorney in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women's Rights Project. Park served as lead counsel in the lawsuit challenging patents held by Myriad Genetics for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which led to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling. This is a joint session with AACC and the Association for Molecular Pathology.

"The Supreme Court ruling on gene patents has enormous implications for healthcare in general and laboratory medicine in particular," said AACC President Robert H. Christenson, PhD. "Laboratorians have long been at the forefront of genomic medicine and the Supreme Court's unanimous decision is already changing the testing landscape for these genes.  It's an important area for laboratory medicine and it is essential to understand how this ruling may impact laboratory practice and patient care."

Session Information

AACC Annual Meeting registration is free for members of the media. Reporters can register online here:

The Supreme Court Decision on Human Gene Patents and Its Implications
Tuesday, July 30
2:30–5 p.m.
George R. Brown Convention Center
Room 310
Houston, Texas

About AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

AACC's Annual Meeting offers 5 days packed with opportunities to learn about exciting science. Plenary sessions feature expert presentations on hot topics such as the role of insulin in obesity, the function of "junk" DNA in human development, the controversy over vitamin D intake recommendations, patient-based therapeutics discovery, and the impact of microbial symbionts on human health.

At the 2013 AACC Clinical Lab Expo, more than 650 exhibitors will fill the show floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center with displays of the latest diagnostic technology, including but not limited to automation, information systems, point-of-care, and biotech.

About AACC

Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of breaking laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Christine DeLong
Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine
Associate Director, Communications & PR
(p) 202.835.8722
[email protected]

Molly Polen
Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine
Senior Director, Communications & PR
(p) 202.420.7612
(c) 703.598.0472
[email protected]