Diagnostic assays based on telomerase
Long before the gene encoding telomerase catalytic protein was isolated, telomerase was recognized as a key regulator of the replicative lifespan of cells. It is fairly obvious that diagnostics for telomerase activity would therefore be of interest for proliferative diseases such as cancer.
Diagnostic assays are currently the subject of some interesting patent court cases. For example, in Innogenetics, N.V v. Abbott Laboratories, Fed. Cir. App. 2007-1145, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3148 (W.D.Wis. 2007)(Crabb, J.), the accused infringer, the pharmaceutical company Abbott, appeals from an injunction in a challenge to recent court decisions concerning E-Bay and willingness to license. This represents the first medical case where injunctive relief has been granted where the US court has expressly acknowledged that a patent situation might result in the patient-public being deprived of the best medical techniques on the market. A decision is likely only in 2008-2010 because the case will not be heard until late 2007 (it is not possible to predict a timeline for disposition of a U.S. Federal Circuit appeal.