Eugin Clinic is to take part in the development of the mitochondrial transfer technique, which combines the DNA of the two biological parents with healthy mitochondria from a donor.
Eugin Clinic, one of Europe’s leading fertility treatment centres, has put its technical and human resources at the service of the University of Newcastle research team. “Our main concern is to ensure the health of the baby. That is the goal of our fertility treatments, and we will work together with this group of researchers to avoid the transmission of serious diseases”, said Eugin’s scientific director, Dr. Rita Vassena, in a meeting with various media in Barcelona.
After visiting Eugin’s laboratory and during a press conference, Professor Mary Herbert and Dr. Meenakshi Choudhary, both members of the scientific team from Newcastle that developed this technique, insisted that their main aim is “to prevent the transmission of diseases related to mitochondrial DNA”.
In the UK, every year some 150 women give birth to babies affected by such diseases, which are passed down from the mother. In Spain, the figure is about one hundred. “Alterations in the mitochondria, the cell’s energy reserve, cause irreversible neurological and muscle damage,” said Professor Herbert.
On February 3, the UK House of Commons took the first step towards authorizing the future use of this technique, which has been widely tested on primates. According to Professor Mary Herbert, “it is a great opportunity to reduce the suffering of those afflicted with these diseases”.