Although they are categorized as rare, about 30 million Americans, or 10% of the population, are impacted by one of 7,000 rare diseases. 85% to 90% of these diseases are considered “serious or life threatening” and 80% are estimated to be genetic in origin.
Developing solutions for these diseases presents a unique scientific challenge for researchers and can require collaboration among stakeholders across the public and private sectors. Rare diseases are often biologically complex and much remains unknown about the underlying causes. Even within a particular rare disease, there can be many variations or subtypes resulting in different manifestations and disease progression. Additionally, due to the inherently small population of patients with a rare disease, diagnosing a rare disease, identifying patients and recruiting for and conducting clinical studies can be difficult.
The vast majority of rare diseases impact children and although advances in research have improved the lives of infants, children, adolescents and society at large, tremendous unmet needs remain. Currently, just 5% of rare diseases have an available treatment option.