The US National Institutes of Health has launched a new clinical research program that will try to unlock the mysteries behind diseases that baffle the medical community.
The infrastructure for the Undiagnosed Diseases Program was put in place last month and it will begin to accept patients in July, the government agency based in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland said Monday.
"A small number of patients suffer from symptoms that do not correspond to known conditions, making their care and treatment extraordinarily difficult," said NIH director Elias Zerhouni.
"However, the history of biomedical research has taught us that careful study of baffling cases can provide new insights into the mechanisms of disease -- both rare and common."
The patients will be evaluated by 25 of the institutes' senior attending physicians specialized in endocrinology, immunology, oncology, dermatology, dentistry, cardiology and genetics.
The program will be directed by William Gahl, an expert on rare genetic diseases and the clinical director at the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute.