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Return on Translational Research Investment

Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline is not so sure that academia is the place for translational research, as both "the process of turning an interesting idea into a real drug target" and that of "turning an interesting compound into a real drug … involve a lot of laborious detail work, of the kind that does not mint fresh PhDs nor energize the postdocs." However, because the National Institutes of Health has recently expressed increased interest in supporting translational research — most recently by funding Clinical and Translational Science Awards at new academic sites, as our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reports — Lowe is considering how that money might best be spent. "If we're breaking things down by therapeutic area, one of the most intractable and underserved is central nervous system disease," he says. "If we're looking at general translational platforms and ideas, then I would suggest trying to come up with solid small-organism models for phenotypic screening," Lowe adds. In a comment to this post, Johnnyboy says he'd like to see the NIH "gearing up to do all the assays necessary for drug candidate development," rather than funding projects involving specific drug targets or therapeutic areas. Lowe is soliciting additional suggestions at his blog. "It looks like this is going to happen, so perhaps we can at least seed this newly plowed field with something that we'd like to see when it sprouts," he says.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants 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.