New Alabama law allows use of certain experimental drugs in terminally ill patients

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Gabe Griffin is the Birmingham child who inspired a cross-country bike trek. Now, he's also the child who inspired a new Alabama law.

Gabe suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes progressive muscle atrophy and often death by age 25.

"As of right now I know, matter of fact, that my son is going to die. And that is... that is very tough for a dad to sit here and say," said Scott Griffin. "But that's what keeps me fighting."

Fighting, even though there's no known cure or survivors of the condition. Griffin says drugs currently on the market are doing little to help his son, but his dose of hope lies in several drugs still being tested.

"I believe these drugs are the answer, whether by themselves or in a combination," he said of the experimental treatments that he claims are doing well in clinical trials.

But there's a problem. They haven't passed those clinical trials for FDA approval.

Legislators got on board this session, though, unanimously passing a bill to get experimental drugs in Phase 1 of clinical trial to patients suffering from terminal illnesses.

"I had tears in my eyes when [Governor Robert Bentley] was actually signing the bill," said Scott. But he notes, this law is the first step for Gabe. There's still along way to go for many of the drugs they are waiting for.

But today is special, he says.

"I will be able to look my wife in the eyes and know I did everything humanly possible to save our son," he said.

Scott adds this law is not just for Gabe, but all Alabamians like him who are fighting for their lives without a cure.

"At the end of the day, even if this doesn't benefit Gabe, what if it benefits just one person in the state?" he asked. "That's a powerful legacy and one we're very proud of."

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