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THE AGE

UNDERBELLY THE MUSICAL: The Threepenny Opera reveals our obsession TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2010 3
with the criminal underworld is a universal and timeless dilemma.
TONI JORDAN MELBOURNE LIFE BACK PAGE NEWS
Roses at Flemington in winter Bid to halt
patenting
of genes
Landmark case to test legality
By JANE LYONS freedom of research into the
fundamental building blocks of
A LANDMARK court case is set our being, Ms Gilsenan said.
to challenge the legality of an She said Maurice Blackburns
Australian-issued patent for a interest in gene patents had
breast and ovarian cancer gene. been galvanised in 2008 when
If successful, the case could Australian-based Genetic Tech-
set a precedent leading to other nologies tried to enforce its
gene patents being overturned. licensee patent rights to BRCA 1
The case could also and BRCA 2.
strengthen calls by researchers, The company backed down
doctors and healthcare advoc- after a public outcry and gov-
ates to stop the practice of gene ernment intervention.
patenting altogether. Genetic Technologies, along
There are about 16,000 gene with the patent co-owners
patents worldwide, covering the Myriad Genetics, Centre de Rec-
breadth of human affliction herce de Chul in Canada and
from breast cancer, epilepsy and The Cancer Institute ( Japan),
hepatitis C to cystic fibrosis and are respondents in this case.
hemochromatosis. About 400 gene patents have
The crowd watch the big race being enacted for the cameras at The fact that monopoly rights been granted in Australia.
Flemington yesterday. Actor Stephen Curry tries to calm his steed and over gene patents can be bought Access to the genes, whether for
meets his role model Damien Oliver (below). PICTURES: PAT SCALA
has raised concerns over impedi- research or diagnostics, is at the
ments to genetic research, as behest of the company, which
well as the higher cost for holds the patent for 20 years.
patients forced to use the gene But with genetic medicine
test offered by the patent owner. and development of targeted
Researchers are also often forced treatment to be the next leap for-
to pay large licence fees. ward in healthcare, it was imper-
Law firm Maurice Blackburn ative that all gene information
will file the patent challenge in remained in the public domain,
the Federal Court today. The said John Stubbs, chief executive
move comes after a New York of Cancer Voices, one of two
court recently invalidated the applicants in the court case.
US patent for the same breast If researchers can isolate a
and ovarian cancer gene, and as part of a gene that can have an
an Australian Senate inquiry impact on a cancer, we believe
into the impact of gene patents that the information should stay
prepares to release its report. in the public domain, Mr
Maurice Blackburn principal Stubbs said. As a cancer patient
Rebecca Gilsenan said the legal- you want to feel that you retain
ity of gene patents had never ownership, that you retain
been challenged in Australia. control over your treatment.
She said the patents agency, Yvonne DArcy, 64, a cervical
IP Australia, was giving these and breast cancer sufferer and

Theyre off in the celluloid Cup and Media Puzzle leads [patents] out theyre privat-
ising [genes] . . . and its never
been clarified by anybody.
The court challenge will seek
the second case applicant,
agrees. Its morally and ethically
corrupt [to own the rights to a
gene], Ms DArcy said.
By KARL QUINN others were at Flemington to As the jockey returned to the quizzed Oliver too hard about now to have my brother back. riot of roses; yesterday, only a to overturn the Australian pat- A spokesman for Genetic
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR catch a glimpse of The Cup, the mounting yard after his 2002 motivation, either. That one is Thats the loss that will give few sturdy survivors could be ent to the genetic mutations Technologies, Greg McPherson,
feature film Simon Wincer is victory, his horse threw him out written in big black letters on The Cup its heart and soul, but seen, though where it mattered BRCA 1 and BRCA, which is said public institutions had
STANDING trackside at Flem- making about Olivers win in the of the saddle and to the ground. the side of his white jodhpurs: its body is all about the details. in front of the camera 4000 owned by a US biotech com- previously taken months, and
ington yesterday, Damien Oliver 2002 Melbourne Cup aboard Ooh, there you go, comment- J. Oliver. And wont the train spotters fakes did a great job of making it pany and two international sometimes years, to provide
saw his life flash before his eyes. Media Puzzle. He is played in ator Bruce McAvaney said at the Oliver rode in the 2002 Cup have fun with this one. look like the first Tuesday in research organisations. BRCA 1 and 2 results. His com-
Its surreal, mate, he said as he the movie by Stephen Curry, time. It can happen to the great just three days after his brother It was cloudy at Flemington November. She said the main legal argu- pany could determine a womans
watched the film version of him- who has shed much weight for ones. Jason died in a training fall in yesterday; on Cup day 2002, it Oh, and one more thing. The ment against the patent was one risk in as little as two weeks.
self parade around the mount- the role and learnt to ride but Oliver and Curry chatted Western Australia, and he wore was sunny. The jockey in orange women in the crowd of nearly of discovery over invention, but Genetic Technologies has
ing yard. Im not feeling still found himself almost being amiably during the long morn- his brothers silks on the day. yesterday was one of the shor- 400 extras shivered in their there were also big ethical and always operated within the exist-
emotional about it I expect thrown by one of the three ing of many takes, though its Interviewed on his victory lap, test there; the jockey he was strapless dresses, but they didnt philosophical questions about ing legal and patent framework.
that will come later but its horses playing his steed. not clear whether they dis- Oliver said: Mate, Melbourne playing, Steven Arnold, is one of have a drop of champagne to whether the body could be Should the rules change, the
very strange. Theres no shame in that, cussed dismounting tech- cups dont mean a thing to me the tallest, at 175 centimetres. dull the pain. privatised. Its a healthcare company will operate within the
Oliver and several hundred though, as Oliver could attest. niques. Its unlikely Curry any more. Id give it back right The racecourse on Cup day is a Now thats surreal. rights issue and an issue of new rules, he said.

Wheel of Fortune hostess Soldiers face boot after another drug shame
Adriana Xenides dies at 54 By DAN OAKES
DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT

FOUR Australian special forces


believed to have been an opiate
at the same special forces base,
in the southern province of
Oruzgan. He is in a serious con-
members testing positive to
prohibited substances are nor-
mally discharged, as the use of
prohibited substances is not
increased risk of heart disease.
They can be administered orally,
by injection or through skin
patches.
and include morphine and
heroin.
Air Chief Marshal Houston
said that until now there had
By MICHAEL IDATO with depression and had a phys- soldiers have been sent home in dition at a United States military compatible with an effective Defence Force chief Angus been no indication of illicit drug
ical breakdown. When she disgrace from Afghanistan after hospital in Germany. and efficient defence force. Houston held an extraordinary use among Australian troops in
GAME show hostess Adriana returned to the set of Wheel of being caught abusing anabolic In answer to questions from Anabolic steroids are used to news conference last week to Afghanistan, but he admitted
Xenides was a rare jewel in tele- Fortune then the top-rating steroids. The Age, Defence confirmed increase body mass and announce that a commando some troops had been discip-
vision who will be remembered game show on TV after a The troops, stationed at the that two special forces soldiers strength, particularly in the had apparently overdosed in his lined for abusing steroids.
for her generosity towards oth- seven-month break, she said: A Special Operations Task Group were caught with steroids in upper body, but have been quarters at Tarin Kowt. All of Australias 300 special
ers, her former colleague John difficult chapter has closed, and camp at Tarin Kowt, are likely to February or March. Two more linked to psychological side A bottle of pills and a white forces troops in Afghanistan
Burgess said last night. tomorrow is a blank page. be kicked out of the Defence soldiers tested positive to ster- effects such as increased aggres- powder, which Air Chief Mar- including commandos, members
Adriana had a heart of gold Xenides was born in Buenos Force. oids, and all four were sent back sion and mania, known collo- shal Houston said appeared to of the Special Air Service Regi-
and she couldnt do enough for Aires, Argentina, and emigrated The revelation comes days to Australia. quially as roid rage, and be an opiate, were found in the ment and support units have
people, Burgess said. She to Adelaide in her teens, after an Australian commando A Defence spokesman said: physical problems such as high privates room. Opiates are been or will be drug tested as a
always put other people ahead spending most of her working apparently overdosed on what is Australian Defence Force blood pressure and the derived from opium poppies result of the apparent overdose.
of herself. Weve lost a good life in the South Australian cap-
person. ital, where Wheel of Fortune was
Xenides, 54, co-host of the filmed.
long-running game show Wheel
of Fortune for 18 years, was
admitted to Liverpool Hospital
John Burgess with Adriana Xenides,
who died yesterday in Sydney.
occasionally on the panel show
Her publicist and friend for
more than two decades Michael
Shephard yesterday acknowl-
Singer to urge Victorians to board the peace train
in Sydney last week with stom- Beauty and the Beast and was on edged a side of Xenides which YUSUF Islam, the recording He changed his name to Helen Summers, said this would had supported a decree issued
ach pain. Celebrity Big Brother in 2002. was rarely seen by the public. artist formerly known as Cat Yusuf Islam after converting to be Islams only public appear- by Irans Ayatollah Khomeini
She died just before 5pm yes- We worked for 12 years She was well-educated, Stevens, will take time out from Islam in 1977. ance outside his concert tour. that encouraged Muslims to kill
terday from a ruptured intest- together on Wheel of Fortune came from a great family and his Australian tour to speak On June 19 he will take the Last month, Victorian MP author Salman Rushdie over his
ine. Her family were at her and never had a blue, never had spoke five languages, he said. about peace at a gala dinner in stage at the Great Hall of the gal- Peter Kavanagh called on Immi- 1988 novel The Satanic Verses.
bedside. Burgess had visited her an argument, in all that time, She had such an amazing the National Gallery of Victoria. lery on his belief that a peaceful gration Minister Chris Evans Islam has repeatedly denied
earlier in the day. Im pleased which is remarkable for the insight into life and the world, His first visit to Australia was world can be restored by people and the federal government to supporting the decree.
she went peacefully, he said. business were in, Burgess said. and a great passion for anim- 36 years ago, when he was at the committing themselves to the block his entry to Australia. Islam was denied entry to the
Burgess said Xenides had In the mid-1990s, at the als. height of his fame with songs 10 Commandments. Mr Kavanagh, a member of US in 2004 in what he later
struggled since leaving the lime- height of her fame, Xenides Funeral details have not yet such as Peace Train, Father and The director of the Interfaith the Democratic Labor Party, wrote was a case of mistaken
light in 1999. She appeared endured a very public battle been announced. Son and Wild World. Centre of Melbourne, Reverend said in Parliament that Islam identity. AAP Yusuf Islam

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