BETHESDA, Md. _ National Institutes of Health (NIH) DirectorHarold Varmus has asked a new advisory committee he created toadvise him on the NIH's investments in gene therapy to develop a listof recommendations by December 1995.

At a two-day meeting here that ended Tuesday, Varmus charged thepanel to investigate three avenues of inquiry: review the investmenteach institute has made in gene therapy and what avenues each wantsto pursue; involvement of academic medical centers and individuallaboratories in gene therapy; and how these activities fit within thecontext of the biotech industry's investment in this field.

The panel's recommendations will be used by Varmus to plan NIH'sfiscal 1997 budget and to better organize NIH's financial support ingene therapy research. All of this is taking place against abackground of flat or declining funding for the NIH, forcing Varmusto cut programs in order to expand others. _ Michele L. Robinson

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