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Back to Basics

With all the emphasis lately on translational research, Steve Caplan from the University of Nebraska Medical Center writes at The Guardian's Occam's Corner blog that he has "decided to come out of the scientific closet, and openly declare my support of non-translational, basic research."

Caplan adds that he finds the sharp focus on translational research — many grant proposals now center on disease — a bit worrisome. "My fear is that an entire generation of basic researchers in the US will be culled away from the fundamental questions in science, leading to a widening chasm between new discovery and specific applications over the next 10-15 years," he writes.

And many clinical discoveries stem from basic discoveries, he says, pointing to penicillin, the polio vaccine, and X-rays.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.