Baby Charlie Gard's rare condition explained

Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome is so rare that Charlie Gard is reportedly only the 16th person to suffer from it.


NSFW    LONDON — An 11-month-old baby from Britain with a rare disorder is at the center of a legal battle, as his parents fight to stop his life support machine from being switched off.

Baby Charlie Gard has mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome and London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital says that no more can be done for him.

But his parents disagree and are arguing in court that their son should be allowed to go to the U.S. for treatment. A massive fundraising campaign has been launched for Charlie Gard, and the family has also received messages of support from President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

Britain’s High Court was scheduled to hear fresh arguments about the case on Monday, the Guardian reported.

Mitochondrial DNA is found in the mitochondria, an organelle within cells. Most of these cells are responsible for respiration and energy production.

Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome occurs when affected tissues suffer a fall in mitochondrial DNA, for example, through a gene mutation, according to LiveScience.

Those with the condition do not receive enough energy in their muscles, kidneys or brain. This typically proves fatal in infants.

The condition is so rare that baby Charlie is reportedly one of of only 16 people to have ever had it.

A GoFundMe campaign raised more than US$1.6 million to get Charlie to the U.S. for treatment.
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