The Mito Foundation has welcomed the announcement in the 2023 Federal Budget of funding for genetic testing for mitochondrial disease (mito).
This is part of the government's ongoing commitment to the Australian mito community and will be a boost for efforts to reduce the time taken to diagnose mito, supporting work towards targeted treatments and prevention options.
In the Budget, provision was made for $118.2 million over five years for new and amended Medicare Benefits Schedule listings. This includes provision for genetic testing for the diagnosis of mito.
Our CEO Sean Murray said the announcement was another step forward in the battle against mito.
“Mito robs the body’s cells of the energy they need to function – causing organ dysfunction or failure, and even death,” Mr Murray said.
“The passage last year of the Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform Bill 2021 – also known as Maeve’s Law – was the culmination of more than five years of tireless advocacy by stakeholders with different perspectives on mitochondrial donation.
“In order to access mitochondrial donation, families need a genetic diagnosis.
“That is just one reason why this Budget provision for genetic testing is an important milestone in the journey to improve how mito is diagnosed in Australia.
The Budget announcement followed Australia’s Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) recommending that genetic testing for mito be funded by Medicare. Thank you to the health professionals and researchers who contributed to this work, particularly teams from the Mito Medical Network, the Kolling Institute, Macquarie University and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Thank you also to researchers at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute for contributing their experiences and data.
Genetic testing can reduce the length and complexity of the diagnostic odyssey for mito and can reduce the number of invasive tests needed for some people. Genetic testing can also support diagnosis of family members and access to reproductive options, including mitochondrial donation.
If you are interested in learning more about mito and genetics, we have a webpage you can visit. Alternatively, you can speak to someone from our Helpline by calling 1300 977 180.