Researchers highlight the need to reconsider mitochondrial replacement moratorium image

News Medical Life Sciences, March 28, 2018
News Medical Life Sciences, citing I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

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Mothers with mitochondrial DNA mutations often give birth to children who face incurable and fatal illnesses. But a much-studied form of mitochondrial replacement (MR) could prevent the transmission of such diseases from mothers to children, researchers say.

For that reason, two researchers argue that the U.S. moratorium that includes MR should be reconsidered through a process that engages the public, medical professionals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Congress.

The authors -- Eli Adashi, a professor of medical science at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School, and Harvard Law School professor I. Glenn Cohen -- make their case in a March 2018 commentary in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Such a process could clarify the benefits of the procedure -- namely, the births of healthy children -- and decouple it from misplaced concerns about genetic editing of embryos, the authors wrote. MR therapy simply replaces mutation-bearing mitochondria in oocytes (unfertilized, un-implanted eggs) with donated mutation-free mitochondria.

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i. glenn cohen public health research