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The Hill - Dem ‘family politics’ blocks Dean at HHS

By Alexander Bolton

Several senior Senate Democrats have intensified their push for Howard Dean to become the next secretary of Health and Human Services, but the effort has run into what Dean allies call Democratic “family politics.”

Senate Democratic heavyweights such as Tom Harkin (Iowa)and Patrick Leahy (Vt) say that Dean, a doctor who focused on healthcare during his decade as Vermont’s governor, would make for a perfect choice.

The Scientist - Biomedical research is ripe for a stimulus

As Congress debates a major economic stimulus package, investment in energy research is high on the agenda. While this promises benefit to our economy and security, it highlights the value of reinvigorating our investment in another area of science -- biomedical research.

Washington Post- I'm Battling Cancer. How About Some Help, Congress?

Op-Ed By Patrick Swayze

For me, fighting cancer is personal. Ever since I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008, I've been waging an intense, often hellacious battle. It's me (with a lot of love and medical support) against my disease.

Wall Street Journal - Understanding Justice Ginsburg’s Pancreatic Cancer

By Sarah Rubenstein

This morning U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, the court said today.

The operation took place at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The attending surgeon, Murray Brennan, said Ginsburg will likely stay in the hospital for a week to 10 days, according to the court.

RPM Report-FDA Commissioner Update: Announcement Timing Provides Clues

By Ramsey Baghdadi
White House says decision will be unveiled this week. The timing offers clues to who may have made the final cut.


Application of systems biology methods to evaluate toxicities in oncology treatments can accelerate the introduction of safe, effective drugs. We are organizing a pilot study to utilize a systems biology approach to elucidate the mechanism(s) of cardiotoxicity of certain targeted chemotherapies. The ultimate goal of the study is to link microarray data of several chosen compounds with their physiological effects in order to begin to identify common mechanisms of toxicity.

Reuters: Obama's FDA pick to come within days-spokesman

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to announce soon his pick to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help create a new regulatory structure to protect the nation's food supply, the White House said on Friday.

"The president will have a new commissioner of the FDA in the coming days," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a press briefing.

The news comes amid a massive recall of hundreds of products containing bacteria-tainted peanuts that have sickened more than 500 people in at least 43 states.

New York Times - Medicare Widens Drugs It Accepts for Cancer

Medicare, with little public debate, has expanded its coverage of drugs for cancer treatments not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Cancer doctors had clamored for the changes, saying that some of these treatments, known as off-label uses, were essential if patients were to receive the most up-to-date care. But for many such uses there is scant clinical evidence that the drugs are effective, despite costing as much as $10,000 a month. Because the drugs may represent a patient’s last hope, though, doctors are often willing to try them.

Wall Street Journal - CDC Insider Named Acting Director

The Obama administration has appointed an infectious disease and disaster preparedness expert as acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Richard Besser, who headed the CDC's public health emergency preparedness and response functions, succeeds Julie Gerberding, who stepped down with the change in administration after six years of leading the federal agency.

Wall Street Journal - CDC, FDA Set to Get New Leaders

The transition team for President-elect Barack Obama, hoping to make a swift break in Bush administration policies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, is moving toward naming new heads to two of the most important federal health agencies.

Julie Gerberding will step down as CDC director when Mr. Obama is sworn in next week, ending a controversial tenure of more than six years. She will be replaced by William Gimson III, the agency's chief operating officer, until a permanent successor is named.