Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NIH Launches Program

NIH researchers in a new clinical research program are aiming to provide answers to patients with mysterious conditions that have long eluded diagnosis. The program called the “Undiagnosed Diseases Program” will tackle the most puzzling medical cases that have long eluded diagnosis. Physicians across the nation will now be able to refer these difficult cases to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda MD.

According to NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., the goal of the program is to improve disease management for individual patients and to advance medical knowledge in general. With the program infrastructure now in place, the program is ready to accept patients as of July 2008.

NIH will use the expertise of more than 25 senior attending physicians, whose specialties include endocrinology, immunology, oncology, dermatology, dentistry, cardiology, and genetics to evaluate each patient. William A. Gahl. M.D., PhD Clinical Director, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), an expert in rare genetic diseases will serve as the director for the new program.

To be considered for the NIH pilot program, a patient must be referred by a physician and provide all medical records and diagnostic test results that will be requested by NIH. As many as 100 patients will be accepted each year and will need to undergo additional evaluation during a visit to the NIH Clinical Center.

For more information, go to http://rarediseases,info.nih.gov/Undiagnosed or call the NIH research line at 1-866-444-8806.