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UK research into rare diseases to benefit from EU cash
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Published on 01-03-13

British research teams working on rare diseases will benefit from some of the €144million (£123.5m) of new EU funding announced by the European Commission on Rare Disease Day.  The 26 chosen projects bring together some 300 researchers from across the EU and around the world.  The four projects coordinated by UK teams have been earmarked for around €25.5m (£21.7m) of funding.  The projects will help improve the lives of some of the 30million Europeans, many of them children, suffering from rare diseases which are usually chronically debilitating or life-threatening.

    UK research into rare diseases to benefit from EU cash

    In addition, many academic institutes from across the UK are participating in many of the other of the projects.  Such as Birmingham University who are working with researchers in the Netherlands and France on the development of a new bio-artificial liver support system to treat acute liver failure.

    Research is important at a European level because individual member states are unable to gather sufficient knowledge and expertise due to scarce resources and the relatively low number of patients in each country. Also, doctors find it difficult to diagnose and identify the best treatment for rare diseases.

    Over the last six years, the Commission has invested around €500 million (£429m) in rare disease research and has led the creation of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium. The 26 new projects bring the number of EU-funded research projects for rare diseases close to 100. 

    Background

    In the EU a disease is considered rare when it affects not more than 1 person in 2,000 but because there are so many different rare diseases, between 6,000 and 8,000, they affect a significant number of people.

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    Last update: 07/03/2013  |Top