Horizon

Season 41 Episode 6

Thalidomide - A Second Chance?

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Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Feb 12, 2004 on BBC Two
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Thalidomide - A Second Chance?
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In this documentary, Horizon explores Thalidomide as one of the biggest medical tragedies of modern times. The images of children born with shrunken limbs still haunt anyone who sees them. And the tragedy is not over. Those children are adults today, still coping with their disability.

For many, thalidomide is a drug that should be consigned to the dustbin of history - an awful cautionary tale of the errors that science can make. But now it is making a comeback - as a radical treatment for incurable blood cancers. But can it possibly be safe to use such a dangerous drug again?

In a powerful and deeply moving film, Horizon tells the tale of thalidomide and how this drug that has become so infamous may now be giving hope to people who otherwise face death.

It also explores the mystery at the heart of thalidomide. It seems that the reason why it works for cancer may at least partly explain something that has long baffled scientists - why thalidomide caused such terrible damage to babies in the womb all those years ago.moreless
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