Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine Cited for Commitment to Mitochondrial Care

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by Mary Chapman |

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Mount Sinai's Ichan School of Medicine

Owing to its commitment to mitochondrial medicine, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been designated a certified Mitochondrial Medicine Center by the Mitochondrial Care Network (MCN).

The network, a growing collaborative founded by multiple national mitochondrial disease advocacy organizations, also named as field leaders Mount Sinai Mitochondrial Medicine Program co-directors Pankaj Prasun, MD, and Bryn Webb, MD.

Prasun and Webb said the school of medicine’s designation will enhance care to a growing number of mitochondrial patients, particularly when using genomic and precision medicine.

“We are honored to join this world-class group of clinicians and institutions to share our experiences and ideas with,” Webb said in a press release. “In addition to being a hub of support, we hope this newly formed network will help raise awareness about the prevalence of mitochondrial disorders.”

The program at the Mount Sinai Medical Genetics Faculty Practice uses up-to-the-minute investigations and diagnostics, along with innovative therapies, to help patients suspected of having, or diagnosed with, mitochondrial disease.

The program is in the department of genetics and genomic sciences, widely viewed as a leader in the understanding, prevention and treatment of birth defects and rare chromosomal or single-gene diseases. The department is ranked fourth nationally for National Institutes of Health genetics research funding.

“Collaborative Medicine has time and time again exemplified strength in numbers,” said Prasun. “By leveraging both our partnership with the Mitochondrial Care Network and Mount Sinai’s legacy of genomic research and clinical care in genetics, we hope to bring our pioneering ideas to life and improve the standard of care for those with mitochondrial disease.”

The MCN is a collaboration between mitochondrial physicians in the Mitochondrial Medicine Society and U.S.-based patient advocacy groups, including the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine, MitoAction and the Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

Launched in June, the network was established to help improve the quality of mitochondrial patient care and implement best practices and standards of care. The network aims to pinpoint gaps in mitochondrial care and help improve diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes.

Designated hospitals and research centers have high patient volumes and institutional backing, and take multidisciplinary approaches. Including the Icahn School of Medicine, there are now 18 Mitochondrial Medicine Centers.

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized, energy-producing compartments in every cell except red blood cells. The diseases primarily affect children, although adults are increasingly diagnosed, according to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.