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$500,000 Awarded for Rare Genetic Disease Research

Update Date: Mar 01, 2013 03:43 PM EST
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Rare genetic diseases afflict millions of people every day and due to its rareness, little research has been conducted in finding a cure. The Rare Genomics Institute and Assay Depot of San Diego and Washington University geneticist Dr. Jimmy Lin, recently announced that around $500,000 will be awarded for research institutions focused on rare genetic diseases. 19 life science companies who were a part of the first Rare Disease Science Challenge: Be HEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) donated the award money.

The competition asked different organizations to present their cases as to what the research money would help accomplish. It also promoted nonprofit organizations, academic researchers, rare disease advocacy groups, communities comprised of rare disease patients and families, and for-profit corporations to join forces in fighting rare genetic disorders. These diverse groups can each provide their own insight on rare genetic disorders and help find more ways to increase treatment options and research overall.

The Rare Genomics Institute, which is a non-profit organization, awarded money to multiple groups, covering 26 different rare genetic diseases. This competition, however, is not over yet. There are still 10 finalists that are hoping to win a $10,000 cash prize. This competition has enlisted the use of social media and can be found on the Rare Genomics Institute Facebook page where people can vote for their favorite study.  The Rare Genomic Institute offers genome-sequencing services for families who deal with rare genetic disorders.

According to the statistics, there are about 200,000 people afflicted with a rare genetic disease. There are about 7,000 rare genetic diseases identified so far. This number is relatively small when compared to the common diseases that attack people every day, which is why rare genetic diseases do not get a lot of government funding. This competition will hopefully help the fight against rare genetic disease.  

The facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/raregenomics 

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