Goverment to publish draft regulations for treatments to prevent mitochondrial diseases

Posted on July 1, 2013 by

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The government has announced that it will publish draft regulations that if made law will allow doctors to use new IVF techniques to prevent mitochondrial diseases being passed from mother to child. Everyone will have the chance to comment on the proposals in a public consultation and parliament will have a vote to say whether they can become law. The regulations, which would be subject to strict safeguards, would make the UK the first country in the world to give patients the option of using this ground-breaking IVF-based treatment.

Background

This announcement follows a number of public consultations and expert reviews, which we have fed into. A pretty comprehensive history of events that have got us to today’s announcement is here and this POSTnote provides a very detailed summary of the science. These consultations have found broad support for the IVF techniques and recommended further research be conducted to develop them for use in people. Under the current law, research can be conducted into these techniques but should they prove successful, there will need to be a change in the law for them to be used to treat patients.

AMRC welcomes the announcement

Our chief executive, Sharmila, said:

Mitochondrial diseases are some of the most debilitating inherited conditions, affecting children and adults, for which there are few therapies and no cures. Acknowledging the need for treatments to be proven safe and effective, and for the public to feel comfortable with the implications of new scientific techniques such as mitochondrial transfer is important; but that proper caution must not prevent us from taking bold steps in the adoption of such potentially life-saving advances in the clinic.

What next?

The government has said that it will publish the draft regulations later this year for consultation. We will respond to this public consultation. MPs and peers will then get the chance to debate and vote on the regulation before it can become law.

Posted in: Policy