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Discovery of mechanism in brain cell injury in Huntington's offers new treatment approaches
Date:1/27/2010

searchers did find a way to mitigate damage and slow disease progression at early stages of the diseaseusing Memantine, a drug currently used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

"Memantine in low dose works by preferentially blocking the activity of NMDA receptors outside the synapse," says Dr. Michael Hayden, director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, professor in the UBC Department of Medical Genetics, and co-author on the study.

"It was previously shown to reverse deficits and damage in late stages of animal models of Huntington's disease, but we found it could improve learning and cell survival signaling even at early stages of the disease," says Hayden. "A small human clinical trial of Memantine for Huntington's disease has also recently shown positive effects. Larger, international clinical trials are now being planned."

"Memantine's beneficial effects appear to be dose-specific," Raymond adds. "Before it can be prescribed to treat Huntington's disease, we need to know how to determine appropriate dosing and whether it interferes with other essential cellular and brain functions."


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Contact: Melissa Ashman
mashman@brain.ubc.ca
604-827-3396
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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