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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of R&D news in brief

GSK R&D chief to leave
GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) head of research and development, Tachi Yamada, is quitting the UK's largest pharma company to run health programmes at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest philanthropic organisation. His decision comes in advance of his planned retirement in June 2007 when he will reach the age of 62 and therefore be forced to retire under GSK rules. GSK has named Moncef Slaoui, senior vice-president for worldwide business development and external alliances as Mr Yamada's replacement.

Clinical trials to find cancer treatment window of opportunity
New clinical trials are to begin this year to explore a window of time after treatment with certain drugs when therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation work better. Cancer researchers are investigating the idea that a narrow period exists after treatment with certain 'smart' drugs used to target a tumour or its blood supply, when changes in the body allow chemotherapy or radiation treatment to be particularly effective. Oncologists hope that if this window can be pinpointed and exploited, survival rates will improve. The studies will be held at research facilities around the US, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital.

FDA approves bird flu diagnosis test
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a lab test to diagnose H5 strains of avian flu in patients suspected of being infected with the deadly virus. The test, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides preliminary results on suspected H5 influenza samples within four hours. ìThis laboratory test is a major step forward in our ability to more quickly detect cases of H5 avian influenza and provides additional safeguards to protect public health,î said Health and Human Services Secretary, Mike Leavitt. The CDC said it will start distributing the test next week to a network of 140 labs throughout the US, known as the Laboratory Response Network.

30th September 2008

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