Fifty years ago, a tiny newborn struggled for life. Born five and a half weeks premature, the son of then President John F. Kennedy was one of some 25,000 infants who succumbed annually to Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or RDS, the then leading cause of death in premature newborns.
The Supreme Court’s decision that no company can patent genes but can patent its tests for genetic information is the tip of a large iceberg. We have gotten used to believing that the patent process is the only way that new drugs and treatments are developed, and that private industry is the only source of that work. Nothing could be further from the truth but the attack on government activity may make it true.
The Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Bio-Medical Research will officially be awarded May 11th in Albany, but the winners of the prize have already been announced. Drs. James Darnell junior and Robert Roeder both with the Rockefeller University in New York City will share the award of $500,000, which is the largest monetary award in the U.S., second only to the Nobel Prize. Both men are being honored for their work to unlock the secrets of DNA, and RNA processing, that is how cells express their genetic information. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with both men, beginning with Dr.