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Tune in Thursday for Part 2 of Discovery Channel's "First in Human," an unprecedented look at the clinical trials being conducted at NIH

On Thursday, August 17, the Discovery Channel will air Part 2 of First in Human, an unprecedented look inside the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, where 1,600 high risk clinical trials are going on right now.  For millions of patients around the world, it is known as the 'House of Hope.'

The documentary chronicles patients, including a young man with leukemia, their families, doctors, and researchers as the patients undergo experimental treatments at the hospital. Known to NIH insiders as Building 10, the Clinical Center is the world's largest clinical research hospital.

Some of our own leaders have done research there. Throughout the month of August, we will feature stories on Society Source of ACS staff who participated in research associated with Building 10.  Be on the lookout forOtis Brawley, MD, our chief medical officer, and Arnold Baskies, our Board chair, to share their experiences. And, Rich Wender, MD, will explore how research conducted at NIH impacts programs we offer at the community level.

More documentary details

The documentary airs over three Thursday evenings: August 10, 17, and 24, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The narrator is actor Jim Parsons, from the TV show "The Big Bang Theory" and the movie "Hidden Figures."

Because the treatments they're testing in Building 10 are so new and their outcomes are entirely unknown, the doctors leading phase 1 trials, also known as first-in-human trials, partner with patients who have exhausted the options the medical establishment has to offer.

The documentary will feature NCI researchers and staff leading trials of a type of immune-based cellular therapy known as adoptive cell transfer (ACT). Immunotherapy is one of the most exciting areas of cancer research, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six immune checkpoint inhibitors for a growing number of cancers, including Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer, and melanoma. ACT therapies are beginning to catch up—in particular treatments known as CAR T-cell therapy. Two CAR T-cell therapy products, in fact, are currently being reviewed by the FDA for the treatment of patients with different types of blood cancers.

First in Human will feature Steve Rosenberg, MD, PhD, an ACT pioneer who conducted the first trials of TIL therapy for patients with melanoma, and Terry Fry, MD, who is leading trials of CAR T cells in children with leukemia. 

Clinical Center successes include:

  • Pioneering the cure of cancerous solid tumors with chemotherapy
  • The use of nitroglycerin to treat heart attacks
  • Identifying a genetic component in schizophrenia
  • Conducting the first successful replacement of a mitral valve to treat heart disease
  • The creation of blood tests to identify both Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and hepatitis

 "I know that everyone who watches First in Human will feel the same sense of pride I did when I discovered this incredible institution that our country created. I hope viewers will share the sense of gratitude and awe that I felt when learning about the human beings who bravely put their lives in the hands of some of our most innovative scientists and doctors as they search together for the medicines and cures that give all of us fuller, longer lives. This is truly the story of how we, as human beings, function: both at an elemental level and at our most profound," Parsons said.

Watch a preview here.

More details can be found on the Discovery Channel website.

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