Translational research in primary mitochondrial diseases: challenges and opportunities

Mitochondrion. 2013 Nov;13(6):945-52. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Aug 17.


On March 8–9, 2012, the NIH intramural and extramural research communities as well as representatives from industries and foundations with a common interest in primary mitochondrial diseases met in Bethesda to identify the major barriers to the development of better treatment for mitochondrial diseases. Besides the importance to the patient population, it has become clear in the last decade that advances in understanding and treating primary mitochondrial diseases will impact research into a large number of degenerative conditions known to have a significant mitochondrial dysfunction component in their pathogenic mechanisms (secondary mitochondrial diseases) that affect millions of people, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease,diabetes, ALS, autism spectrum disorders, and many others. We would like to make this discussion available to the scientific community, as it provides a framework on how patient advocacy groups, individual academic units, pharmaceutical companies, and the NIH can interact to address problems related to mitochondrial diseases.The main goals of this workshop were as follows: (1) to share information related to primary mitochondrial disease among the NIH Intramural and Extramural Research Program Investigators, (2) to develop and/or enhance systems to facilitate future collaboration and sharing of information, (3) to survey obstacles, needs and priorities of primary mitochondrial diseases research, and (4) to develop mechanisms to enhance translation of basic science discoveries to diagnostics and therapeutics.

Keywords: Animal models; Mitochondrial diseases; NIH; Workshop.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*