Mark Welcomes Government Support for Mitochondrial Disease Research

Wrekin MP, Mark Pritchard, has welcomed the news that the Government is supporting five research centres which are carrying out research on mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial diseases are incurable genetic disorders which affect the ability of the body to produce the energy it needs to function.  The diseases can affect cells in almost any part of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, eyes, nerves or pancreas.  Symptoms include poor growth, muscle weakness, vision and/or hearing problems, learning disabilities, diabetes, breathing problems and neurological disorders.

It is believed that 1 in 200 babies in the UK are born with genetic changes which can lead to mitochondrial disease, and that about 1 in every 4,000 people in the UK is living with it in some form.

Mr Pritchard tabled a written question to Helen Whately MP, the Health and Social Care Minister with responsibility for medical research, to ask what progress the Government is making on mitochondrial disease research.

In response, the Minister confirmed that the Department of Health and Social Care’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supports three Biomedical Research Centres and two Clinical Research Facilities that are carrying out research on mitochondrial disease.  This includes a project from the NIHR research centre in Great Ormond Street to find diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for mitochondrial disorders.

In response to the news, Mark Pritchard MP said:

"I am pleased and reassured that the Government is supporting vital research on mitochondrial disease.  This research gives hope to thousands of sufferers whose quality of life could be improved by the discovery of new treatments."