Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Too Slow or Too Fast

Writing in the New York Post, Henry Miller, the founding director of the US Food and Drug Agency's Office of Biotechnology, bemoans the pace at which the agency approves drugs for use.

Miller, who is now at the Hoover Institution, says FDA typically moves slowly on drug approvals. He notes that the European Union, Australia, and Canada have approved Bexsero, a meningitis B vaccine, but not the US. Similarly, he writes that pirfenidone, an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment, is available in Europe, Japan, Canada, and China, while there is no treatment for the condition available in the US.

But, he says the agency has moved quickly on expanding access to Ebola treatments and developed a clinical trial so that, after intense social media-based lobbying, a young cancer patient could receive an experimental drug.

"[B]ureaucrats are supposed to make decisions that are dispassionate, data-driven, and in the public interest," Miller opines. "Instead, the FDA moves faster on life-saving treatments mainly when it knows the public is watching."

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.