The Antidote to Myriad & More

This is very much not my style! I like to do my research, make sure I’ve evaluated all angles, shore up the details, and THEN dive in with both feet. But today I don’t have time for that!

Last night my husband’s colleague Bonnie pulled me aside at dinner to tell me about an article she’d read in the local law journal. The room was crowded and I knew I wasn’t going to “get it” and so she offered to send me it to me. It just arrived. TWO amazing gifts from ONE amazing company: VIRATECH.

(Now, let’s hope that in my rush to share I don’t get this all wrong…)


First, a NEW social media site (still in beta) designed specifically for cancer patients. Think Facebook for the cancer patient, caregiver, provider…with content, support, and more, all among people who “get it.” You get the picture. Check it out:

(P.S. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that I just managed to get my first video up here! But I digress…)

Pretty exciting stuff, if you ask me! I’m looking forward to getting in on the ground floor of this.

But it’s not the most exciting part…

We talk a lot about changing the face of cancer research.

We need impact.

We need collaboration.

We need to reward taking chances over incremental change.

We need a new model…

The Antidote to Myriad

As many of you know, there is a Supreme Court case pending against Myriad Genetics in their effort to secure a patent on the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. There are all kinds of things to say about it, but let’s go with AWFUL and move on. (You can learn more here: BC Action on Gene Patenting). Imagine, a company that so badly wants to control progress that they seek to patent the genes we were born with. In fact, they just won a similar case in Australia.

Unfortunately I can’t link to the Daily Journal article because it is a member, fee-based site. But in the article author Kenneth Eade uses Avastin as a model of how progress is made in the world of heathcare. Last year Avastin hit $2.66 billion (yes, with a “B”) in sales in the US, and nearly $6B world-wide. It arrived in the US 16 years ago, and was first approved by the FDA as a metastatic cancer treatment in 2004.

Kade goes on to discuss what’s happened with your cell phone in the last 16 years. I can tell you, because the one I had back then was, I kid you not, sold to me as a phone/weapon. Remember this >

To what can we attribute the rapid explosion of new, creative technology at accessible pricing?

Open-Source Research. 

And that is what Viratech is looking to bring us – an open-source, collaborative platform for biotech. It’s modified open-source, as researchers will still be able to protect their intellectual property but connect with others to collaborate and even crowd-fund their projects, but ultimately it’s about working together in news ways, and I LIKE that!

So with guarded optimism, I have contacted the company, and I will share more as learn!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. AnneMarie
    Feb 21, 2013 @ 18:40:36

    COLLABORATION is the buzzword and it’s the only way we are going to see any progress. No more hiding so there is duplication of research (and precious dollars WASTED)…..

    Myriad: My prediction. They are going down. I can go into a whole reason behind my legal thinking and I think I will because, after all, I’m your tag-team partner. SCOTUS initially refused to hear the case because they kicked it back to the State Appellate court with some specific questions it asked the lower court to answer. Obviously, SCOTUS saw something wrong with the decision and was giving the lower court the chance to “fix it”…. NOW SCOTUS agreed to hear the case????? I think that speaks VOLUMES. I think we get back our genes… and I’m deciding if I should be looking into the BreastNext test since my BRCA situation is murky….

    Love YOU….


  2. Susan
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 08:58:41

    It sounds fascinating Lori and I look forward to what happens with this company after they respond to you. I love their concept and it will be exciting to see them develop. Their email program to get newsletters out which remembers all of the people on your mailing list also looks very helpful. Thanks for this great information! Hugs and XoXoXo – Susan


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