Cultivating the Best Science is Our Best Hope
“UMDF is the largest funder of mitochondrial research outside of the federal government. In the last few years, discovery has streamlined the diagnosis for many and allowed designer therapies to be developed for several rare diseases that may be translatable to mitochondrial diseases. The Roadmap to a Cure provides direction for obtaining a diagnosis, developing care pathways for patients and finding therapies to alleviate symptoms.”
Dr. Bruce H. Cohen
Chair, UMDF Scientific & Medical Advisory Board
The pathway to a mitochondrial disease diagnosis is not standardized.
Create a better diagnostic scenario to identify and characterize mitochondrial disease patients based on health information, genetic testing and bio samples.
- Increasing Awareness
- Improving Diagnoses
- Developing Tools to Measure Mitochondrial Health/Disease
There is an absence of well-controlled studies within the field and no licensed therapies for mitochondrial disease in the United States.
Coordinate stakeholders in academia, government and the drug development industry to address validated outcome measures, patient-report outcomes and regulatory guidance to gain treatments more efficiently and quickly.
- Facilitating Drug Development
- Identifying and Funding Gaps from Basic Science to Clinical Trials
Clinical care for mitochondrial disease patients is often inconsistent, and insurance reimbursement for rare disease care is challenging.
Leverage the national focus on personalized medicine to develop programs and tools that will advance, optimize and lead to standards of patient care for the mitochondrial disease community.
- Personalized Medicine
- Patient/Clinical Education
- Developing Coordinated Care Models
- Establishing Centers of Excellence
Clinical Trial Opportunities for Patients
Our best hope for finding treatments and cures is clinical trials. For research studies to be effective, a large amount of data from a large pool of participants is essential. We urge patients to join the fight and engage in clinical trials to help make a difference for future generations.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news and updates on clinical trials. Visit the Clinical Trials database.
7416: Phase-1, dose finding and safety study on L-Citrulline Treatment of Nitric Oxide Deficiency in MELAS
The main purpose of this study is to determine the safest maximum dose of an amino acid, citrulline, which will be used as potential treatment for adult patients with a disorder of energy metabolism called Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes (MELAS). Once established, this dose will be used in a future clinical trial.
The human body is made of many cells and each cell contains many mitochondria. Mitochondria are called the powerhouses of the cell, because they produce the energy needed for a cell to be healthy and function the way it is meant to. Diseases of the mitochondria affect the way the tissues and cells of the body make and use energy, and can affect almost all the different organs of the body like the brain and the muscles.
MELAS syndrome is one of the mitochondrial diseases; patients with this disease have different complications including stroke like episodes, headache, muscle weakness, fatigue, and hearing loss. One of the factors contributing to complications seen in patients with MELAS syndrome, in particular the stroke like episodes, is decreased amount of an element called nitric oxide. This element is made in our bodies from an amino acid called arginine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins make the muscles in our bodies, and they are present in meat, chicken and fish.
About this Study
In this study, the highest acceptable dose of an amino acid called citrulline will be established in people who have a mitochondrial disorder. Previous research conducted by several groups including our center at Baylor College of Medicine has determined that there is a deficiency of a compound called nitric oxide in people affected with MELAS.
The lack of nitric oxide could cause constriction of blood vessels in the brain making it easier for these people to have a metabolic stroke. The amino acid citrulline is a foundation for nitric oxide. In earlier studies, we have found that there is more production of nitric oxide in the body when people take L-citrulline.
How to Join:
In order to participate in a study, you must personally contact the study coordinator at Baylor College of Medicine, by phone or by e-mail. Please use the information below to ask about participation.
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
Texas Children’s Hospital
6701 Fannin street, CC 1560.10
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: +1 832-822-1630
Annual UMDF Grant Prize Winners
2020 Early Stage Investigator Prize Winner
Breann Brown, PhD
Project: Mechanisms of protein assembly underlying mitochondrial DNA maintenance but altered in early-onset neurodegenerative disorders
2020 Experienced Investigator Prize Winner
Hajime Sakai, PhD
Project: Implementation of the CRISPR gene editing technology – Edit Plasmids – toward the curing of mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA
2020 accelerators Big Pitch Winner
Dr. Kinsley Christopher Belle
Project: A two pronged approach to further our understanding of the role heteroplasmy and mutations play in mitochondrial disease.
Interested in applying for a UMDF Research Grant?
Your Dollars at Work
Your donations power our ability to support science dedicated to mitochondrial disease research.
million in grants awarded
million stimulated in government grant follow on funding
labs funded and launched
million dedicated to Leigh Syndrome Roadmap Initiative
Making an Impact in Drug Development
UMDF recognizes industry as an essential partner in developing treatments and cures for mitochondrial disease.
Industry Advisory Council
Our Industry Advisory Council (IAC) is organized to optimize collaboration with global pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic centers, supplement manufacturers and assisted device services to help move our mission forward.
Facilitating Drug Development
There is a need to generate more urgency within the drug industry to invest and develop therapeutic treatments focused on mitochondrial disease.
No single organization can take on mitochondrial disease alone. UMDF has gathered the leading mitochondrial disease patient advocacy groups from around the globe to form and fund The Leigh Syndrome International Consortium. This Roadmap to a Cure project showcases our active dedication to find the best science wherever it is located in the world.
UMDF interacts with multiple organizations and is the nucleus of many infrastructure projects dedicated to mitochondrial disease clinical research and patient care. UMDF is collaborating with key stakeholders to create a single hub essential for sharing and dispersing critical information to benefit the entire mitochondrial disease community.