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Drug trials pose dilemma for some hospitals

The Tennessean, June 20, 2011

With medical research accelerating and doctors chasing not only treatments but also outright cures for terminal illnesses, research centers are increasingly forced to make the hard decision between helping current patients and focusing on research for the future, especially when the two missions conflict. Though Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's choice not to participate in compassionate use frustrated the director of the melanoma program there, the lead investigator of the drug's trials in New York said the decision is understandable. "It takes money; it takes resources away from what you normally would be doing. So, each hospital would have to make that decision," said Paul Chapman, MD, lead investigator of the vemurafenib trials from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.