The February 21 issue of the open access journal PLoS Biology reveals that researchers from the National University of Ireland Galway have made an important scientific discovery in the battle against Huntington's disease. Worldwide, more than 100, 000 people are affected by Huntington's disease, an incurable, inherited, neurodegenerative disorder which causes uncontrolled movements, emotional disturbances, and severe mental deterioration. Estimates show that another 300, 000 are likely to develop symptoms in their lifetime. At present, the only treatments available are designed to manage the symptoms. There is no medication available that can halt the progression of the disease. The new research has discovered specific enzymes, HDACs or histone deacetylase complexes, as positive agents for the mutation that cause Huntington's disease.
Researchers at National University of Ireland Galway have made a significant scientific discovery in the fight against Huntington's disease. The novel findings are published 21 February in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology. Huntington's disease is an incurable, inherited, neurodegenerative disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional disturbances, and severe mental deterioration. It affects over 100, 000 people worldwide, with another 300, 000 likely to develop symptoms in their lifetime. There is currently no way to halt progression of the disease, and available treatments are designed only to manage the symptoms. The new research identifies specific enzymes called HDACs, or histone deacetylase complexes, as positive agents for the mutation that underlies Huntington's disease.
Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a promising new therapy for Huntington disease that restores lost motor skills and may delay or stop the progression of the disease based on lab model tests, says the lead researcher. Because the new therapy uses a molecule already being used in clinical trials for other diseases, it could be used in a clinical trial for Huntington disease within the next one to two years. "We didn't expect to see such dramatic changes after administering this therapy, " said Simonetta Sipione, the Principal Investigator "We expected to see improvement, but not complete restoration of motor skills. When we saw this, we were jumping with excitement in the lab. This is very promising and should give hope to those with Huntington disease. I think it's a treatment that deserves to go to clinical trials because it could have huge potential.
A team of researchers at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures has developed a technique for using stem cells to deliver therapy that specifically targets the genetic abnormality found in Huntington's disease, a hereditary brain disorder that causes progressive uncontrolled movements, dementia and death. The findings, now available online in the journal Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, suggest a promising approach that might block the disease from advancing. "For the first time, we have been able to successfully deliver inhibitory RNA sequences from stem cells directly into neurons, significantly decreasing the synthesis of the abnormal huntingtin protein, " said Jan A. Nolta, principal investigator of the study and director of the UC Davis stem cell program and the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.
New research at Oregon State University provides evidence for the first time that disruption of circadian rhythms - the biological "clocks" found in many animals - can clearly cause accelerated neurodegeneration, loss of motor function and premature death. The study was published in Neurobiology of Disease and done by researchers at OSU and Oregon Health and Science University. Prior to this, it wasn't clear which came first - whether the disruption of biological clock mechanisms was the cause or the result of neurodegeneration. "In these experiments, we showed through both environmental and genetic approaches that disrupting the biological clock accelerated these health problems, " said Kuntol Rakshit, an OSU graduate fellow. "There's a great deal of interest right now in studies on circadian rhythms, as we learn more about the range of problems that can result when they are disrupted, " Rakshit said.