In aggregate, rare diseases aren’t all that rare. For example, as many as 30 million people in the European Union may be affected by rare diseases, according to RareDiseaseDay.org.
Feb 25, 2014
It’s estimated that 80 percent of these diseases have genetic origins; others result from infection, allergies and environmental causes. Scientists are investigating treatments for more than 40 rare diseases at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.
“We choose to work where there is unmet need and where the scientific understanding is strongest,” said Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “Unmet need can mean a rare disease with a small number of patients. Rare diseases have a huge impact on families, which has influenced me in focusing a significant portion of our research programs on these disorders.”
Feb. 28 is World Rare Disease Day, which aims to raise awareness about rare diseases and their effect on patients’ lives. The infographic shown above highlights some of the key data surrounding rare diseases.