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Shutdown forces NIH to turn away clinical trial patients

WASHINGTON – The National Institutes of Health is closing its doors to some new patients during the federal shutdown, namely patients who would participate in clinical trials.

The result is about 200 patients a week, including 30 children who are mostly cancer patients, won’t be able to undergo experimental therapies available at NIH, The Washington Post reports.

The clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center treat people when no other alternatives are available. For example, a patient might go there when other treatment options have failed or when a disease is rare.

Every year, the center sees about 10,000 new patients.

Existing patients will still get treatment, according to Francis Collins, director of NIH.

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