For many people with mysterious conditions, the Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) is their last hope. Founded in 2008, the UDP is a clinical research program of the United States’ National Institutes of Health, which aims to provide answers to patients with mysterious conditions that have defied diagnosis. Using a unique combination of scientific and medical expertise and resources, the UPD is also set to discover new diseases or new aspects of known diseases, advancing medical knowledge.
Created as a United States government pilot program in 2008, the UDP has received more than 3,000 inquiries. However, so far only 300 patients have been accepted into the program. Selected patients head to the NIH’s clinical center for a week of complex and exhaustive tests using state-of-the-art technology. After the patients are sent home, medical experts pursue every option and examine every clue, hoping it leads them to a diagnosis.
To evaluate each patient enrolled in the new program, the NIH has enlisted the expertise of more than 25 of its senior attending physicians, whose specialties include endocrinology, immunology, oncology, dermatology, dentistry, cardiology and genetics. This collaborative approach makes the UDP unique. Still, the success rate is just 10 to 15%.
To be considered for the UDP, a patient must be referred by their physician and all medical records and diagnostic test results requested must be provided. Patients who meet the program’s criteria will then be asked to undergo additional evaluation during a visit to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (United States).
For more information on the UDP program, please visit their website here.