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New Drug Shows Promise Against Huntington's Disease
Date:11/7/2011

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One U.S. neurologist agreed that the drug seems promising against a disease with few treatment options.

"There has been a great deal of attention for this drug, as it is one of the few molecules that in preliminary studies was found to have some efficacy in Huntington's disease," said Dr. Alessandro Di Rocco, professor in the department of neurology and chief of the division of movement disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"However, this is the first large study to show evidence of a positive result in treating the motor symptoms of this devastating disease. And, though the compound is apparently well tolerated without significant side effects, the benefit is modest and limited to the motor symptoms of the disease and it is unknown how long the improvement observed could last," he added.

Still, pridopidine does not get at the underlying cause of Huntington's disease, Di Rocco said.

"Unfortunately, Huntington's is a progressive disease and this drug is not a treatment of the disease itself but only improves some of its symptoms," he explained. "Nevertheless, it is a welcome addition because there is very little else yet available to treat the symptoms. The challenge for scientists and clinicians is to discover therapies that actually slows or halts the progression of the disease."

Another expert agreed that new treatment options for patients are sorely needed.

"A well-tolerated drug that produces even small benefits for patients with Huntington's disease would be a very welcome addition to the currently available treatments for this debilitating disorder," Andrew Feigin, from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York City, wrote in an accompanying commentary.

The study was funded by European pharmaceuticals company NeuroSearch A/S.

More information

We Move has more about Huntington's disease.

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