Michelle Langbehn, 30, has endured nine months of chemotherapy, two cycles of radiation, a spinal fusion and several tumor removal surgeries. But the cancer that's attacking her body continues to spread, and her future treatment options are limited.
There was hope for the Auburn, California, mom -- a clinical trial that's testing a new drug called Cabozantinib that's been approved to fight other cancers. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health had gathered Langbehn's medical records; they were set to evaluate her status on Monday to make an official enrollment decision, she says.
Then the government shut down.
Every week, hundreds of patients like Langbehn 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.
"Due to the lapse in government funding ... transactions submitted via the web site may not be processed, and the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted," a message on the top of the NIH website states.
Every week, about 200 new patients come to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Patients are now being told they will have to wait until the government starts up again to begin their trials, according to NIH spokesman John Burklow.
"In fact, six new studies would have started this week that we are deferring," Burklow said.
Approximately 30 of the 200 new patients are children, he said, and about 10 of those children are cancer patients.
"I am furious," Langbehn said. "They are denying or delaying potentially life-saving treatments to Americans in need of a miracle. I speak for everyone battling cancer when I saw we don't have time to wait."
Langbehn's oncologist gave her two years to live. That was last July. "I do not plan on letting this take me away from my family," she says.
Burklow did note that participants who are already in studies are still being treated and will continue with their trials. Burklow also said patients in desperate need of treatment will be handled differently and will more than likely be seen by physicians or nurses at the NIH Clinical Center.
About 75% of NIH's employees -- or about 14,700 people -- have been furloughed.
Researchers at other institutions who have received NIH grants are not affected by the government shutdown. But the agency is not accepting any new grant applications.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
INSIDE: View our list of events happening this week around the Valley.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
Things are warming up again, but we're also tracking the next storm system that may bring rain back to the Valley this week.
It's very important that when you hire a contractor, you make sure you have a written contract with payments based on progress.
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a Phoenix Suns player? Good news! The Suns will be featured in a "live" web special offering real-time, behind the scenes look into a typical day with the NBA team.
Jurors deliberating the sentence for Arizona inmate John McCluskey failed to reach a unanimous verdict, meaning the judge will sentence him to life in prison for murdering a retired Oklahoma couple.
IKEA is recalling millions of children's lamps following the death of a child who choked on the lamp's cord. Another child was injured.
Officials have arrested a former coach on sex charges Wednesday in Goodyear.