Every week, hundreds of patients are admitted to new clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health. But as of Tuesday, these patients are being put on hold until the government resumes operation.
McKenna Smith is one such patient, CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports.
The girl spends much of her day in a wheelchair suffering from a rare genetic disorder.
Smith says, "Sometimes I feel like I don't even want to get up because my back is aching so bad."
The pain she feels is caused by tumors that wrap their way around her nerves and compress her organs.
There's no cure but there is hope. On Monday, McKenna and her dad, Justin, arrived at the N.I.H in Bethesda, Maryland, so McKenna could start taking an experimental drug that might shrink the tumors.
But with the government shutdown, including most of the organization, the family was told there was a chance she might not get the medicine.
They thought they might have to go home to Florida but late Wednesday they were informed McKenna's treatment could go forward.
About 200 other new patients, including some 30 children, aren't so lucky. They won't get to join the studies just yet.
These patients are being put on hold until the government is back in business.
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