The University of Oxford and Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals Announce New Affiliation to Advance Therapies for Rare Diseases

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Joint program combines capabilities to improve treatment options globally
for patients with rare diseases

Oxford, UK and Cleveland, Ohio, USA 28 February 2019 – The University of Oxford and University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, today announced a multi-year affiliation to establish a global center for rare diseases. The Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre will bring together the capabilities, resources and expertise of both institutions to deliver new treatments for rare diseases, for which therapeutic options are lacking.

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 University of Oxford is a world-renowned academic institution with more than 250 Principal Investigator scientists working on over 350 rare diseases. The Oxford Rare Disease Initiative, established in 2012, is a collaboration between the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals Trust, which provides the opportunity to combine pre-clinical and clinical expertise in areas such as neurology, inflammation and immunology, hematology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and has created an extensive rare disease network.

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