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November 24. 2013 4:44PM

Hope for McKenzie: A girl vs. bureaucracy

Just before last Thanksgiving, McKenzie Lowe, 12, of Hudson, was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor. Her disease is Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. Patients with this diagnosis typically live for another nine months. McKenzie has survived a year, which is remarkable. Her doctors say that if she is to make it much longer, she needs access to Antineoplastons, an experimental cancer drug not yet approved by the FDA. Now she waits for the FDA to grant her permission to live.

The FDA exists to improve the health of Americans. It screens and tests drugs so that unsafe ones do not reach the market. But what about people who are terminally ill? If someone is facing imminent death, who cares about possible negative side effects of an experimental drug? The FDA does. Terminally ill children and adults can get unapproved drugs through a policy called “compassionate use.” But even that takes time. Patients have to apply, and the FDA has to approve the use. It is time that some patients do not have.

McKenzie Lowe is fighting for her life. No one knows how much time she has left. We pray that it is longer than the time the FDA will take to respond to her parents’ request. If you would like to help, you can sign the online petition asking that McKenzie be allowed to take the one drug doctors say could save her life. To sign it, go to www.change.org/petitions and search for “McKenzie Lowe.” Then pray.


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