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And What a 'Golden Age'

An analysis of global biomedical research and development trends published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that the balance of R&D investment is shifting toward Asia.

As The Economist notes, spending is shifting away from Europe and North America to Asia. In China, the R&D funds have increased some 33 percent a year between 2007 and 2012, and in Japan, funding increased about 6 percent a year in that timeframe. Meanwhile, the US is cutting back on the expenditures.

But more disquieting, The Economist says, is that total global R&D spending is slowing. It notes that as drug development is a slow process, the true effect of such a decline may not be fully felt for a few years.

"American regulators approved 27 new drugs in 2013, and 39 in 2012, a number not seen since 1996," it says. "In ten years’ time the present day may seem like a golden age."

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.