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Rare diseases individually affect a small number of people, yet over 6,000 rare diseases have been identified. A rare disease diagnosis can be scary, isolating and overwhelming.
Researchers at Spectrum Health are finding ways to help patients with rare diseases. Genetic testing often provides some answers about a rare disease. “Advances in genetic testing allows doctors to provide more answers, but it also brings up more questions” said Dr. Caleb Bupp, a medical geneticist at Spectrum Health.
There are no geographic boundaries to rare disease. The Spectrum Health rare disease team collaborates with local, national and international experts to help patients and their families. This includes identifying rare diseases, further understanding the causes of those diseases, finding treatments and sharing this work with other patients and medical specialists worldwide.
Rare disease is very personal to patients and their families. The rare disease team provides cutting edge research opportunities to each patient individually, while simultaneously connecting them to support and expertise from around the globe.
Spectrum Health is proud to support the Rare Disease Network, in partnership with Calvin University and Michigan State University. The Rare Disease Network connects every aspect of the rare disease community which reaches across local, state, and international borders. From patients and families, to students and teachers, to healthcare providers and advocates, every voice in the rare disease community matters.
One important function of the Rare Disease Network is connecting patients and families with clinical trials and researchers that can offer innovative therapies. Advances in precision medicine helps patients with rare diseases further identify and treat their rare disease using a personalized approach.
Each year, Calvin University, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital host a free event to unite patients, caregivers and families, medical professionals, researchers, advocates, and students around the common goal of understanding what it means to have a rare disease and what support is available.