This rare disease is pretty much what it sounds like – hiccups that last for extended periods of time, ranging from weeks to years to decades. The longest documented episode lasted 60 years. As strange as it may seem, this debilitating illness affects up to one out of every 100,000 people.
Multiple Myeloma is another success story of increased awareness and research. Thanks to the improvement of two first-class medicines approved in 2015, the severity of this rare form of bone marrow cancer has taken a beating. This form of cancer occurs in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that's normally responsible for producing antibodies. New treatments help activate the immune system to attack the cancerous cells and reduce the size of tumors.
Cystic fibrosis might be one of the best known rare diseases. These individuals experience a buildup of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive system, and other organs. As one of the “big names” of the rare disease lexicon, treatment of this disease has grown a huge amount over the past decades.
Bird headed-dwarfism, Montreal type
There are only three published cases of this disease, which is characterized by a low birth weight, small head, narrow pointed face, a beak-like nose, large eyes, and intellectual disability.
Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, aka “Tree Man syndrome”
A few months ago, Abul Bajandar from Bangladesh (below) became the first person to have been potentially cured of Epidermodysplasia verruciformis. This hereditary condition is characterized by an extreme susceptibility to HPV, the human papillomaviruses, causing an uncontrollable outburst of scaly warts to grow on the person’s body, often said to resemble tree bark.
Abul Bajandar, one of the most famous cases of Epidermodysplasia verruciformis. Monirul Alam/Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0