Partnership Aims to Treat ALS by Restoring Mitochondria, Cell Energy

MitoSense, Uppsala University working on ways to support neuronal health

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

Share this article:

Share article via email
An illustration of mitochondria in a cell.

MitoSense and the Centre for Transplantation Technology at Uppsala University are collaborating to harness the power of mitochondria — the energy source for cells — in treating diseases that include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the company announced.

MitoSense has developed a patented, first-in-kind mitochondria transplantation technology — coined Mitochondria Organelle Transplantation (MOT) — that enables the transfer of healthy mitochondria from human tissue into specific diseased cells.

“The collaboration between Uppsala University and MitoSense will pave the way for the development of the next generation of biological drugs for treatment of various cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and inflammatory conditions,” Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, MD, PhD, professor and head of the cardio-thoracic translational medicine lab at Uppsala, said in a MitoSense press release.

Recommended Reading
Top 10 illustration for most-read articles of the year.

Top 10 ALS Stories of 2022

Bringing healthy mitochondria to cells affected by diseases like ALS

Impairments in mitochondrial function are a hallmark of several neurodegenerative and inflammatory conditions. Evidence shows mitochondrial abnormalities in motor neurons — the nerve cells that control voluntary movement and are progressively lost in ALS patients — are one of the earliest ALS-related events.

MitoSense’s MOT technology relies on extracellular vesicles — tiny sacs that contain cellular components such as proteins, fats, and various RNA molecules — to transport healthy mitochondria from healthy cells and deliver them to diseased cells, which is believed to improve essential energy production in those cells.

According to MitoSense, this technology has been applied in patients with heart disease and ALS. The mitochondria, injected into the bloodstream, tended to travel to the places of damage and enter the injured cells, where they translocated to their right locations and began to supply energy, the company reported

The collaboration, established under a Memorandum of Understanding, aims to isolate mitochondria-derived extracellular vesicles from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), which have shown an ability to protect motor neurons from damage, and develop vesicles for clinical use.

Initial efforts will focus on ALS, but researchers plan to expand their work to assess the potential of extracellular vesicles in treating other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in lessening the damage that follows the re-establishment of blood flow after a heart attack.

“Uppsala University is Sweden’s … oldest university, and Uppsala University Hospital, where much of the collaboration will take place, is one of Europe’s finest teaching hospitals.  Our doctors and scientists are excited about this collaboration and the promise it holds to help fight disease,” said Van Hipp, MitoSense’s board chair.