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Centre treating rare Behçet’s Disease opens at Royal London Hospital

PUBLISHED: 07:31 30 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:46 30 November 2012

A new specialist medical centre for people with the rare Behçet’s Disease which avoids patients getting the wrong treatment is being formally opened in east London today (Friday) .

The new centre at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, which has been given ‘centre of excellence’ status by NHS Specialised Services, is the result of 20 years of research into a condition which had limited understanding in the medical profession.

Patients in the past have endured incorrect diagnosis and inadequate therapies, the Barts & The London NHS Trust revealed.

Now patients referred to the centre from all over the country get quicker diagnosis and holistic treatment, with expert help in one location.

The centre is headed by consultant Professor Farida Fortune, of London University’s Queen Mary College, who explained: “We have learnt over the past two decades about this chronic and poorly-understood disease from the patients’ perspective.

“Becoming a ‘centre of excellence’ creates the potential for research that identifies new drug targets and allow greater focus on improving patients’ quality of life.”

Prof Fortune received the Behçet’s Syndrome Society award for ‘Services to Patients’ two years running since 2011.

The society’s Jan Mather said: “This will drastically change the way Behçet’s patients are cared for and diagnosed in the future, transforming the care and quality of life for Behçet’s patients.”

The clinic, which is being formally declared opened this-morning by MP Sir Paul Beresford at a reception at Bart’s in the City, is the largest of three centres commissioned around the country. It will treat half the 500 people in Britain who have been diagnosed with the condition.

Behçet’s is a chronic disorder of the immune system with symptoms including painful ulcers and eye problems. It can lead to long-term problems including ulcers, eye inflammation, arthritis and even strokes.

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