Editorials

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  • A growing number of clinical trials on combination therapies raises the question of to what degree they may be redundant. Systems biology and hypothesis-driven preclinical studies could help to identify the most promising candidates for clinical trials, and also offer new insights into the biological mechanisms that underlie drug synergies.

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  • Drugs administered to children with cancer were typically developed under the assumption that childhood cancers are similar to their tissue-matched adult counterparts. Focusing on identifying and targeting alterations present specifically in childhood tumors will accelerate the development of tailored therapies and improve the prognosis of children with cancer.

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  • Recent evidence shows that both acute and chronic infections can persist in tissue reservoirs that act as a source of subsequent disease. Identifying the parallels of reservoir maintenance by diverse pathogens might offer new leads to enable their control.

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  • Deaths from drug overdose are rising worldwide, in part owing to the growing epidemic of opioid addiction. Efforts to combat opioid addiction will benefit from stronger collaboration between preclinical researchers who are studying addiction and those studying chronic pain.

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  • Cancer research has made great strides in identifying effective therapies for treating advanced-stage tumors. The next challenge is moving the battle to earlier stages of disease.

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  • Proposed US budget cuts and the impending exit of the UK from the European Union have the potential to destabilize the global biomedical-research enterprise. In the meantime, the uncertainty of not knowing just how bad the effects will be will inflict its own damage.

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  • President Donald Trump's call to speed up drug approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overlooks the fact that the agency has become faster over the past two decades. When considering changes to the drug-approval process, we should instead increase our investment in the many years of research that precede approval.

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  • The scientific process relies on people's willingness to publish data-driven findings. Turning to the legal system to adjudicate the merit of evidence-based assertions in the scientific literature leads us down a dangerous path.

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  • Immune-related adverse effects are understudied and not easily treatable risks of cancer immunotherapy. Concerted research efforts to understand the mechanisms of immunotherapy-triggered responses are crucial for developing better treatments.

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  • Changing political and funding landscapes in the US create an uncertain environment for biomedical research. The research community must insist that scientific policy follow from science, not political partisanship.

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  • Recent ballot initiatives instituting a tax on sugary drinks in the US, alongside related efforts by other countries and support from the World Health Organization, bring to the forefront the need for greater scientific insight into how sugars affect metabolic health.

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  • The US Food and Drug Administration approved a muscular-dystrophy drug against the scientific advice of its own staff and advisors. Despite leadership's attempts to downplay the controversy, doubts now surround standards for accelerated approval.

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  • From organoids to population-level studies, mental health research has begun to crack long-standing mysteries. Longitudinal investigations into brain and cognitive development among adolescents, such as the forthcoming 10,000-person ABCD project, will help to mature the field.

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  • The suicide rate in the US is increasing, whereas funding for research into suicide prevention has decreased. It will take more investment to truly understand the mechanisms of action underlying the causes of this global killer and to design new treatments for those causes. But efforts must come from all segments of society.

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  • Here, we announce two policy changes across Nature journals: data-availability statements in all published papers and official Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) validation reports for peer review.

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  • Reporting of data from clinical trials comes slowly or not at all. Impending regulations in the US promise to improve the situation, but full compliance will require better incentives from institutions and a greater understanding that reporting data does not jeopardize the publication of results.

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  • The US Food and Drug Administration's priority review voucher system for drugs to treat neglected disease has come under scrutiny for lacking preconditions that ensure fair pricing of the products that they aim to usher forward. That loophole needs to be closed.

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  • Science naysayers have become increasingly vocal in the US government. Attacks on science—whether biological, social or climate—threaten human health, now and in the future.

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  • Offering new consent options to study participants will accelerate the release of valuable and varied clinically annotated genomic data.

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  • Amid heightened concerns about the Zika virus outbreak in parts of the Western Hemisphere, it is worth remembering that the most extreme countermeasures are not necessarily the only ones worth trying. We must engage in calculated and diverse responses that will ensure sustainable outcomes for this and other outbreaks.

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