What Happens at the House of Hope?

Discovery documentary showcases important research at NIH Clinical Center

Photo: Courtesy of National Institutes of Health

The NIH Clinical Center is the largest clinical research hospital in the country.

Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the center supports NIH doctors and researchers testing groundbreaking clinical therapies on patients, often for the first time.

Now you can step behind hospital doors and learn about these courageous patients, their caregivers, and the dedicated NIH staff treating them.

“First in Human,” a documentary series from the Discovery Channel, follows four patients at the Clinical Center also known as the “House of Hope.” Two of the patients have cancer and two have rare, inherited diseases.

The three-part documentary, released in 2017, is named for the “first in human” trials, or trials in which new, innovative medical therapies are tested on patients for the first time.

Many NIH Clinical Center patients have rare diseases or diseases that don’t respond to other available treatments. For these patients, the Clinical Center is often their last hope.

A history of healing

For more than 60 years, the NIH Clinical Center has been at the forefront of developing treatments for deadly and damaging diseases.

The center has seen many medical firsts. These include chemotherapy first used to treat cancerous tumors, gene therapy undergoing its first human tests, and the first antiviral drug for HIV/AIDS meeting with early success.

There are many more Clinical Center advances on the horizon. But clinical trial participation is key to helping doctors find answers.

Helping future generations

“With the attention now being drawn to the value of clinical research by ‘First in Human’ and other outreach efforts, I hope we can begin to build momentum to encourage more Americans to take part in clinical trials,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

“Not only do clinical trials offer sick people who have no other options a chance to receive experimental treatments that may extend or save their lives, such work is essential for advancing scientific knowledge in ways that will benefit the health of future generations,” Dr. Collins added.

Winter 2018 Issue: Volume 12 Number 5 Page 18