Reply To: What is an Orphan Disease?


The term “orphan” is derived from the Late Latin term “orphanus” meaning “parentless child”, from the Greek term “orphanos“, which means “without parents or fatherless”, literally meaning “deprived or bereft”. The English language dictionaries also describe orphan as a person or thing that is without any protective affiliation, unsupported, without sponsorship, unauthorized, isolated, deserted, abandoned, etc. In the field of medicine, an orphan disease is defined as a medical condition which affects a small percentage of people in a given population. An orphan disease is also known as a rare disease. As orphan diseases or rare diseases have limited number of patients, they are not considered a profitable domain to invest by the pharmaceutical companies. Examples of orphan diseases include Huntington’s disease (HD), rare types of cancers, etc.