New Partnership Aims to Establish Global Rare Disease Center

According to a story from, the University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio and the University of Oxford have recently announced their plans for a multi-year affiliation. The goal of this relationship is the establishment of a global rare disease center. The new center will be known as the The Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre and it will serve to help the two organizations join forces in order to research and develop new therapies for rare diseases that don’t have treatments.

Rare Diseases: A Common Problem

Rare diseases may sound like a minor problem, but they are not. Around 350 million people around the world have a rare disease of some kind. About ten percent of the US population is also affected. There are around 7,000 diseases that are considered rare, but more are being discovered all the time. Nearly half of all rare disease patients and children. As most rare diseases are genetic, they affect patients throughout their lives. Many patients have little hope of an effective treatment or even an accurate diagnosis, much less a cure; only about five percent of rare diseases have officially approved treatments. 

About The Rare Disease Centre

The two groups have already dedicated themselves to helping find treatments for rare diseases. Oxford itself has around 250 researchers who are working on 350 different rare diseases. The Oxford-Harrington center will offer a new opportunity to maximize the impact of the latest breakthroughs in both the US and UK. The concept of the new center has been in development for a number of years. Regius Professor of Medicine Sir John Bell of Oxford and David U’Prichard of the Harrington Project helped put the plan for the center together. It will have dual headquarters in both Cleveland and Oxford.

It is hoped that the new center will be a critical resource for rare disease researchers from around the world. An endeavor almost seven years in the making, the development of the center will also be supported in part by a grant supplied by the Cleveland Foundation. New projects like the Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre offer a glimpse into the exciting and fruitful future of rare disease research and treatment.

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