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Leading researchers report on the elusive search for biomarkers in Huntington's disease
Date:5/20/2013

Amsterdam, NL, 20 May 2013 While Huntington's disease (HD) is currently incurable, the HD research community anticipates that new disease-modifying therapies in development may slow or minimize disease progression. The success of HD research depends upon the identification of reliable and sensitive biomarkers to track disease and evaluate therapies, and these biomarkers may eventually be used as outcome measures in clinical trials. Biomarkers could be especially helpful to monitor changes during the time prior to diagnosis and appearance of overt symptomatology. Three reports in the current issue of the Journal of Huntington's Disease explore the potential of neuroimaging, proteomic analysis of brain tissue, and plasma inflammatory markers as biomarkers for Huntington's disease.

"Characteristics of an ideal biomarker include quantification which is reliable, reproducible across sites, minimally invasive and widely available. The biomarker should show low variability in the normal population and change linearly with disease progression, ideally over short time intervals. Finally, the biomarker should respond predictably to an intervention which modifies the disease," says Elin Rees, researcher at UCL Institute of Neurology, London.

In the first report, Rees and colleagues explore the use of neuroimaging biomarkers. She says they are strong candidates as outcome measures in future clinical trials because of their clear relevance to the neuropathology of disease and their increased precision and sensitivity compared with some standard functional measures. This review looks at results from longitudinal imaging studies, focusing on the most widely available imaging modalities: structural MRI (volumetric and diffusion), functional MRI, and PET.

"All imaging modalities are logistically complicated and expensive compared with standard clinical or cognitive end-points and their sensitivity is generally reduced in individuals with la
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Contact: Astrid Engelen
a.engelen@iospress.nl
31-206-883-355
IOS Press
Source:Eurekalert

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