Mitochondrial Disease Program

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The Wayne State University Mitochondrial Disease Program is working to build an active collaboration between basic researchers and clinicians that will advance both research and patient care. The Wayne State University Mitochondrial Medicine Program is composed of individuals drawn from clinicians, researchers, and other allied health professionals, who work in a highly collaborative environment and are seeking to improve research and treatment of mitochondrial disease.

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Mitochondrial disease was once thought to present rarely and mostly in early childhood, but more recent research has suggested that mutations of mitochondrial DNA may affect as many as 1 in 200 individuals of all ages. Furthermore, most dysfunction in the basic mitochondrial energy apparatus results from mutations in nuclear genes, most still not identified. Mitochondrial dysfunction may also play a role in familiar conditions like type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and stroke. Although the current focus of the Wayne State University Mitochondrial Disease Program is to identify and treat patients with relatively traditional disorders of mitochondrial function, the ultimate goal of the Program is to analyze mitochondrial function in more common diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and stroke in order to develop new and more effective therapies for these conditions. By studying mitochondrial problems from different angles with a major focus on patient care, the researchers hope to identify the role of mitochondria in common diseases and to identify new therapies to treat them.