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Varmus Means Business

Speaking to National Cancer Institute staffers this week, Harold Varmus — the agency's newly installed director — "said he plans to review all NCI programs, address 'dysfunction,' and come up with a list of big questions that block progress against cancer," Science Insider reports. Specifically, Varmus "will begin by overhauling NCI's cooperative clinical trials system, making greater use of NIH's clinical center, and working on ways to speed cancer drug approvals," according to Science. He also said that "he will be 'strenuous in my insistence' about ensuring access to data, research materials, and publications," Science reports. Varmus also told attendees not to expect "budget magic." Science Insider adds that Douglas Lowy will serve as Varmus' deputy director when Anna Barker, deputy director under former NCI director John Niederhuber, leaves her post in August.

The Scan

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.