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People in the News: Feb 12, 2009

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Gary Gilliland has taken on two posts at Merck, including vice president of Merck Research Laboratories and franchise head of oncology.

Gilliland is a Harvard Medical School professor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He is also director for the Leukemia Program at the Dana Farber/Harvard Medical Cancer Center and director of the Cancer Stem Cell Program at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

He will replace Stephen Friend, who plans to leave the company to pursue an effort to build open access integrative bionetworks, or complex databases, around the world in order to accelerate disease studies.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from 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.