Exploring new therapies for mitochondrial disease (mito) 

There are no specific cures or treatments for mitochondrial disease (mito). Through his research, Dr Matthew McKenzie is hoping to change that.

Mito is a general term for a group of genetic disorders that affect mitochondria, the tiny structures inside our cells which are responsible for producing energy. People with the disease struggle to convert sugar, fat and protein into energy efficiently, disrupting the normal function of the body’s organs.   

Mito affects around 1 in 4,500 people, and can cause a range of debilitating symptoms which lead to early death for many patients.   

With funding support from the Mito Foundation, Dr Matthew McKenzie is working to develop new therapies for the treatment of mito. 

“This project involves repurposing drugs, used to treat other conditions, that have been shown to increase the amount of mitochondria and boost total energy production. We expect this will help to relieve the symptoms of mito,” Dr McKenzie explained. 

Dr McKenzie hopes this type of approach may trigger a whole new area of therapeutic drug development based on mitochondrial growth stimulation that increases the total mitochondrial content in mito patients.  

“If our research is successful it may lead to further pre-clinical testing and future clinical trials of these drugs,” he said. 

“The development of effective treatments is crucial to improve the health outlook and quality of life for people with mito.”