Almost 50 children in Australia are born every year with a devastating mitochondrial disease that has an expected lifespan of just 5 years. In a first in Australia, the Medical Research Future Fund has gone on to announce $15 million in funding, which also happens to be only the second in the world when it comes to clinical trials of mitochondrial donation.
The mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the mother’s egg and is responsible when it comes to helping mitochondria generate energy across all the body’s cells. Apparently, if the mitochondrial DNA carries variants that lead to energy production that is indeed faulty, mitochondrial disease can be caused.
Mitochondrial donations look forward to rectifying this genetic timebomb through an assisted reproductive technology form under which the future baby’s mitochondrial DNA is available from a donor’s egg so as to avoid the passing of the torch when it comes to inherited mitochondrial disease.
The mitoHOPE, which stands for Healthy Outcomes Pilot and Evaluation Programme, has in it mitochondrial as well as clinical geneticists from across the country, as well as fertility specialists and clinical embryologists from Monash IVF, who happen to be working together with Monash University’s and the University of Adelaide’s reproductive scientists.
It is well to be noted that the trial, which happens to be based in Melbourne in partnership with Monash, is going to be available for all the eligible women from across the country.
Apparently, the success of the mitoHOPE programme will be completely dependent on the Australian women’s willingness when it comes to donating eggs for reproductive purposes and also for research use so as to make improvements in the technical procedures.