Clinicians, scientists, patients, nurses and University of York graduates marked Rare Disease Day with an exhibition at York Hospital.

In York, several research groups are tackling important questions to better understand, diagnose and treat rare diseases.

These are hosted by the Department of Biology and the Centre for Immunology and Infection at the University of York, and the Hull York Medical School, together with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

A rare disease or disorder is defined in Europe as one which affects fewer than one in 2,000 people.

In the EU alone, it is believed that as many as 30 million people may be affected by one of over 6,000 different rare diseases.

Dr Fabiola Martin, who is researching the virus HTLV, which can often remain hidden, said: “Over 6,000 rare diseases are characterised by a broad diversity of disorders and symptoms that vary not only from disease to disease but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease.

“Tailored medicine and translational science is urgently required. At York, researchers are developing a greater understanding of the processes underlying infection and the development of disease, and new approaches to prevention and treatment.”