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The University of Oxford and Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals have announced a new affiliation to advance therapies for rare diseases. The joint program combines capabilities to improve treatment options globally for patients with rare diseases.

More than 350 million people worldwide are living with a rare disease, and approximately 50 percent are children. There are about 7,000 known rare diseases, with new diseases being discovered every day. A rare disease affects one in 10 Americans, or 10 percent of the US population. Similarly, Europe has approximately 30 million people who suffer from a rare disease. The majority of all rare diseases are genetic in origin, which means they are present throughout a person’s life. Only five percent of rare diseases have a treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and similar estimates have been made for treatments approved by the European Medicine Agency (EMA). Therefore, someone with a rare disease today faces a lifelong, often life-threatening, condition with little hope for a cure, or even an effective treatment option.

In this partnership, the University of Oxford and Harrington Discovery Institute commit to addressing unmet need in rare disease. Through their combined resources, the new Centre will set the science and innovation agenda to support cutting-edge breakthroughs across the UK and US with the greatest chance for clinical impact. The Centre will be led by Professor Matthew Wood from the Department of Paediatrics.

Read more (University of Oxford website)

Read Professor Matthew Wood's interview on Medium about his work and the advances that a new Rare Diseases Centre could herald for the future of rare disease and genetics.

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