Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

Science on the horizon

FMM is proud to help support research for a non-invasive blood test for bioenergetic health at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Mitochondrial Medicine Laboratories in concert with Agilent Technologies, formally Seahorse Bioscience.  Exciting work is taking place, laying the framework for a future CLIA* certified mitochondrial clinical laboratory featuring state-of-the-art blood tests, including a Bioenergetics Health Index (BHI), to measure mitochondrial function.

Researchers are currently at work on a Bioenergetic Health Index to test to measure mitochondrial function. This new translational bioenergetic research isolates blood cells, allowing a patient’s metabolic function to be evaluated. BHI blood testing will provide a less invasive test measure than the current muscle biopsy for diagnosing mitochondrial disease. The BHI Blood test measuring mitochondrial function can also be applied to patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimers Disease and other related diseases where mitochondrial disease is a key contributor.

It is now becoming clear that a broad range of pathologies which present clinically with symptoms predominantly in one organ, such as the brain or kidney, also modulate mitochondrial energetics in platlets and leukocytes allowing these cells to serve as “the canary in the coal mine” for bioenergetic dysfunction. This opens up the possibility that circulating platelets and leukocytes can sense metabolic stress in patients and serve as biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction in human pathologies such as diabetes, neurodegenration and cardiovascular disease.1 (Kramer, Ravi, Chacko, Johnson, Darley-Usmar 2014, p.206)

Bioenergetic testing will aid an individual to understand better his or her unique metabolic profile. This information can than be used to define a healthy metabolism and predict disease susceptibility or progression.  This allows better treatment precision and decision making. Based on a patient’s unique chart, a physician can make specific life style and therapeutic recommendations.

For patients with mitochondrial disease, this blood test will not only lead to better diagnostics, but also a non-invasive blood test which can allow doctors to assess mitochondrial function in cells periodically and help with monitoring of current treatments for symptom management. While this test is currently still in the research phase, patients will have the opportunity to be participants in the 2017 research study to validate this new test. Please contact FMM to learn more.

If you are interested in diving deeper into the science and research, please click this link to view a 10 minute descriptive research video. 2
Bioenergetics and the Oxidative Burst: Protocols for the Isolation and Evaluation of the Human Leukocytes and Platets

1 Kramer PA, Ravi S, Chacko B, Johnson MS, Darley-Usmar VM. A review of the mitochondrial and glycolytic metabolism in human platelets and leukocytes: Implications for their use as bioenergetic biomarkers. Redox Biol. 2014;2:206-210.

2 Kramer, P. A., Chacko, B. K., Ravi, S., Johnson, M. S., Mitchell, T., Darley-Usmar, V. M. Bioenergetics and the Oxidative Burst: Protocols for the Isolation and Evaluation of Human Leukocytes and Platelets. J. Vis. Exp. (85), e51301, doi:10.3791/51301 (2014).

UAB_Logo*CLIA: Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments – congressional quality standards

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