The Food and Drug Administration approves more than 99 percent of applications for compassionate use of experimental medicines. But supporters of a right-to-try law want a more direct approach.
A well-regarded intensive care doctor in Virginia says he has had good success in treating 150 sepsis patients with a mix of IV corticosteroids, vitamin C and vitamin B, along with careful management of fluids. Other doctors want more proof — the sort that comes only via more rigorous tests.
Research with living systems is never simple, scientists say, so there are many possible sources of variation in any experiment, ranging from the animals and cells to the details of lab technique.
Tom Werner/Getty Images
Glenn Lightner in 2012 at age 13. His father searched clinicaltrials.gov for years, to no avail, hoping to find a promising experimental cancer treatment that might save his son's life.
Courtesy of Lawrence Lightner
Medical workers will test the effectiveness of three new potential Ebola therapies at clinics run by the nongovernmental organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).
Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images
Dr. Gabriel Logan is one of two doctors at the Bomi county hospital, which serves a county of 85,000 people. In a desperate attempt to save Ebola patients, he started experimenting with an HIV drug to treat them.
John W. Poole/NPR
Miguel Pajares, a Spanish priest who was infected with the Ebola virus while working in Liberia, is transferred from a plane to an ambulance after arriving in Spain. He was treated with an experimental drug but died on the disease.
Spanish Defense Ministry/AP