Sunday, September 16, 2007

The BRCA Gene and Pre-emptive Surgeryhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif


The New York Times has an article about genetic screening and the search for the hereditary BRCA gene, the genetic marker identified as the culprit responsible for a large percentage of breast cancer cases. The BRCA genes (BRCA-1 and BRCA-2) have been in the news in the past, not just because of their link to breast cancer, but because they were effectively patented by Myriad Genetics - the patent being primarily based on the series of test that Myriad developed to "locate" the genes. These patents were initially used to control any research that involves those genes, thus prohibiting a lot of other work being done on breast cancer.
The absolute linkage of genetics to disease, a hermetically sealed narrative of cause-and-effect, remains dominant in the reportage and popular understanding of cancer, despite more and more research that points to the scientific inaccuracy of the single-gene theory.
Barbara Ehrenreich has written a terrificly critical account of the cult of breast cancer "awareness from her own experience with the disease - identifying the problems of how "prevention" is imagined when it comes to breast cancer. "Prevention" is explicitly constructed through the promotion of screening - both genetic testing and physical (mammograms). Prevention equals detection. As Ehrenreich points out, this is not accurately prevention, which would require much more investment in locating the complex causes of cancer. And as she also points out, this presents a conflict of interest for pharmaceutical companies that seek to make a profit off of potential "cures" as well as continuing the chemical dependence driving large parts of our economy, at the expense of our bodies. Prevention isn't the desired outcome, it's treatment. And genetics provides a perfect alibi.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:47 AM

Comments: Post a Comment



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   February 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   September 2007   October 2007  

syndicate [atom]

preBlog archives

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?