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Review of scientific methods to avoid mitochondrial disease 2016

The aim of the latest scientific review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the scientific issues raised by mitochondrial donation and an assessment of the current state of the research.

 An expert panel was tasked with reviewing the latest evidence of safety and efficacy for the two mitochondrial donation techniques – MST and PNT, with particular reference as to whether the recommendations outlined in the 2014 scientific report have been met. However, whereas the previous reports were commissioned by the Government to inform a decision about whether to change the law, the context for this report is different: Parliament has changed the law and this report has been commissioned by the HFEA as part of an internal assessment of whether mitochondrial donation is ready for clinical practice.

The HFEA will shortly be reflecting on the recommendations outlined in the report, in order to make a decision on whether these treatments should be implemented in clinical practice. You can read the report here:

Membership of reconvened panel

  • Dr Andy Greenfield (Chair), Medical Research Council (MRC) Harwell Institute and HFEA member
  • Professor Peter Braude, King’s College London, UK
  • Professor Frances Flinter, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  • Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Francis Crick Institute, UK
  • Professor Caroline Ogilvie, King’s College London and Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  • Dr Tony Perry, University of Bath, UK.

Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the panel were:

‘to review the latest evidence of safety and efficacy for the two mitochondrial donation techniques – maternal spindle transfer (MST) and pronuclear transfer (PNT), with particular reference to whether the recommendations outlined in the 2014 scientific report have been met.’

Accordingly, this review focuses exclusively on the science and the safety and effectiveness of these techniques; it does not consider the ethical and legal issues that are raised by such techniques, except when they are directly relevant to proposed research and/or potential clinical applications.

Page last updated: 30 November 2016