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IMP Annual Meeting a great success

In June IMP welcomed almost all of its members to its Annual General Meeting in Italy. 

Day one included a demonstration of the Genomit: Global Mitochondrial Disease Patient Registry, which is due to launch later this year in Italy. The Registry will create a global natural history dataset which can be matched with clinical data, making it an invaluable resource for everyone working to improve the lives of people affected by mito.  

Our members had the rare opportunity to present their organisations to each other, providing a valuable insight into how different organisations support their local mito communities, advocate for change, educate healthcare professionals and raise funds to underwrite their work. 

Professor Prigione from Germany presented an update on the CureMILS and Sympathic projects. You can read more about the Sympathic programmes below. We were also joined by Professor Gorman and Dr Butterworth from the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Newcastle in the UK. They thanked IMP for our support of their application to LifeArc for a new rare disease centre.

Professor Spinazolla shared an update on her work as a Professor of Neuroscience and Mitochondrial Medicine at University College London in the UK. She has recently received a £1 million grant from the Medical Research Council of UK to progress research into potential treatments for mitochondrial DNA disorders. 

During the official part of the AGM, Elja van der Veer, was voted onto the IMP Board. Elja is the Founder of IMP. She ran the organisation for 10 years, before retiring a couple of years ago. Elja is an important addition to our Board, with her wealth of experience and knowledge. We are delighted to have Elja working with us again. 

As the day drew to a close, the members split into small groups to workshop the questions of what IMP's priorities and strategic direction should be. IMP is led by our members and so the input we received will be instrumental in how IMP develops. The Board will report back to the members over the coming months on how we will use the outcomes from the workshops to develop our strategic direction. 

IMP members were joined on the second day by people affected by mito, most of the patients and their families were from Italy, with others from countries including Romania and Luxembourg.  

Presentations on topics included mitochondrial donation, which has become a reality in the UK and Australia, thanks to the incredible efforts of the Lily Foundation and Mito Foundation. Italy and Belgium are also looking to make the IVF technique accessible to people affected by mito. 

Professors Rahman and Mancuso provided updates on the latest research taking place in mitochondrial medicine. It was encouraging to hear of developments and areas of research that it is hoped will take us closer to effective treatments and ultimately cures. 

Representatives from pharmaceutical companies shared information on clinical trials and potential new treatments. Providing hope for many patients.

After several years of online Annual Meetings, it was great to meet so many representatives from our member organisations in person in Bologna. With relationships strengthened between organisations, and ideas for new collaborations explored, it was an important reminder of how valuable chatting during a coffee break can be! We are grateful to all of our members who attended in person and online, and for their input into a successful meeting. 

We would like to thank our colleagues at Mitocon for their assistance in organising the meeting, and to our industry partners for supporting the meeting. 

© 2023 Int. Mito Patients