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Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Terminally ill get untested drugs

25th March 2008

Drug treatments previously untested on human subjects will be offered to cancer patients by the health service.


St Bartholomew's Hospital in London is set to be the first hospital to use the drugs. A further 18 hospitals will then follow.

Patients will receive the medication only if if they have no other chance of recovery and will be given tiny doses of the drugs. A blood sample from the patient will be examined within 24 hours and the medication will only be continued if it is seen to be working.

The Department of Health gave its approval to the idea in order to cut down the amount of time needed for the development of new treatments. Doctors are keen to accelerate this process, which can take an average of 10 years.

"We're not talking about cutting any corners in terms of patients' safety," said Professor John Gribben from Barts and The London NHS Trust.

"We would argue that for patients who've got cancer 10 years is too long to wait and we've got to try to cut that period down as much as possible."

Mr Gribben stated that they were on the lookout for treatments which killed the cancerous cells but did not harm the patient.

He added that they knew "the potential side effects" for every treatment and staff talked to patients beforehand in order to ensure they were fully knowledgeable about the potential dangers involved.

The new process has been funded by the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK, who will give £400,000 per annum.




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