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Wait, Backlog Is Bad?

In the Mercury News, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke writes that the "patent system desperately needs to be reformed to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change and innovation," adding that "today's innovators are curing diseases and ensuring our safety — sorting through genetic code, developing nanotechnologies and vastly improving our quality of life." But the current process has led to a backlog of 800,000 applications. Locke says that he has told David Kappos, the director of the Patent & Trademark Office, "to adopt an aggressive agenda that will reduce processing delays by two-thirds."

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.