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After a survey of UK oncologists revealed that access hurdles and high costs associated with biomarker testing are limiting their ability to prescribe personalized treatments, Merck Serono has issued a "call to action" for the government and pharmaceutical industry to work togeth

Nick Crabb, associate director of the Diagnostics Assessment Program at the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, discussed some of the challenges of evaluating heath technology as the pool of drug and diagnostic personalized medicine products grows.

According to the final guidance issued by NICE this week, it appears that the drug sponsor did not submit data to the appraisal committee on biomarkers to stratify best responders to Avastin.

By bringing together hospitals and genetic testing labs, Cancer Research UK is hoping to develop an improved model for genetically testing patients' tumors, which could be scaled up for use in the UK's National Health Service.

Despite pleas of breast cancer advocates to maintain access to Avastin using gene markers to identify those most likely to benefit, there is little evidence to suggest that the drug company or regulatory experts are considering this strategy.

NICE's recommendation for NHS to pay for AstraZeneca's non-small cell lung cancer drug Iressa in EGFR mutation-positive patients marks the second personalized medicine product to be funded in the UK after Herceptin was approved in 2002 for HER2-overexpressing breast cancer patients.

After pharmacogenetic analysis in a Phase II melanoma study for tremelimumab failed to yield any clinically meaningful gene-response markers, Pfizer inked a codevelopment deal with Debiopharm handing over Phase III development of the drug with a protein marker linked to response. But commercialization rights still belong to Pfizer.

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US National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins says he will avoid male-only speaker panels.

Two patients fell ill, and one subsequently died, following a fecal microbiome transplant that harbored multi-drug-resistant bacteria, according to the New York Times.

Technology Review reports that eGenesis is testing whether organs from genetically modified pigs can be transplanted into monkeys.

In Science this week: almond reference genome, and more.