Great Britain has opened a government-run network of cancer clinics that will provide experimental treatments to dying cancer patients and may also speed up the drug testing process, the Associated Press reported.
There are clinics in France, Italy and the Netherlands that offer experimental treatments to cancer patients, but Britain is the only European country with a national network of clinics. Currently, only a few hundred patients with late-stage cancer in Britain have access to experimental drugs, but officials hope the new network of clinics will soon benefit thousands of patients.
Expanding drug tests for terminal cancer patients preys on their desperation, according to some critics of the program, the AP reported. But the process is fair as long as patients are told about potential side effects, counter some ethicists.
In the United States, cancer patients can sign up for experimental drug treatment, but there's no official national program to help them enroll. About 80 percent of American cancer patients are treated in community hospitals, while most drug trials are conducted at academic medical centers, the AP reported.