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24 September 2014
Science & Nature: TV & Radio Follow-upScience & Nature
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Thalidomide capsules
BBC Two, Thursday 12 February 2004, 9pm
Thalidomide - A Second Chance?
Coming Up
Would you recognise a synthetic diamond? Horizon tells the story of the diamond labs. BBC Two, 4th March, 9pm.

Thalidomide - A Second Chance? - programme summary

Thalidomide was 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.

"I was planning my own funeral but this drug gave me my life back"

Nancy Touhey, cancer sufferer

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.

Cancer research UK
Information on cancer
BBC Radio 4 - Woman's hour
Thalidomide Forty Years On
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