NIH offers free care to patients with rare illnesses

The NIH has launched a new pilot program designed to find patients with rare, hard-to-detect diseases and treat them--for free. The new Undiagnosed Disease Program is far from a panacea for such patients, as it can only take about 100 applicants per year, but it does offer help for some. NIH officials, for their part, hope that in treating such illnesses, they'll find clues for treating more common maladies.

The new program is aimed at patients who typically would be turned away from NIH programs because there are no studies for their condition, either because the condition is rare or because it may not have been discovered yet.

To learn more about the program:
- read this Associated Press article