Mark Butler announces funding for mitochondrial donation pilot program

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Health minister Mark Butler has announced funding of $15 million for Monash University's mitochondrial donation pilot program, mitoHOPE.

The funding, which will be provided through the Medical Research Future Fund, will support a pilot of the program that aims to help prevent mitochondrial disease from being passed on to children by their mothers.

Mitochondrial disease is debilitating and potentially fatal, with significant impacts felt by both patients and their families.

Mitochondria provide the body with over 90 per cent of the energy needed to sustain life. When the mitochondria are not working properly, cells begin to die until eventually, whole organ systems fail.

A key focus of the research is to determine, through a clinical trial, the safety, efficacy, and feasibility of using mitochondrial donation reproductive technology in clinical practice in Australia.

The project aims to assist women to have biological children who do not inherit the predisposition to mitochondrial disease and will help determine the best way to safely offer mitochondrial donation to Australian women with the disease.

“I’m very pleased to announce $15 million in funding for a mitochondrial donation pilot program. This is a positive step for all those patients and families who campaigned for Maeve’s Law," said Mr Butler.

“Mitochondrial disease is a really challenging condition to navigate. It can be debilitating, with physical and neurological symptoms that are often not fully understood - and there is no cure.

“This funding is about increasing our understanding of the disease so we can better support women and create a brighter future for themselves and their families."