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New hope in fight against Huntington's disease
Date:1/10/2011

Hope for new ways of treating devastating neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease has been raised by a trans-Atlantic team of researchers thanks to the use of cutting-edge genetic techniques.

Led by the University of Leicester, scientists from the University of Lisbon (led by Dr Tiago Outeiro) and University of California at San Francisco (led by Dr Paul Muchowski) collaborated to generate novel approaches for tackling the diseases. Their work, funded by the Medical Research Council, is published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

At Leicester, working simply with baker's yeast, a team of biological scientists examined aspects of Huntington's disease. These yeast are extremely well-characterised and have powerful and facile genetics which allow researchers to rapidly interrogate this system at a genome-wide level. Research in recent years has found that baker's yeast can be used to study mechanisms underlying disease pathology, and this simple organism has been used to identify several promising candidate drug targets for neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington's disease.

Flaviano Giorgini, lead author of the research paper at the University of Leicester, said: "My research group is interested in using genetics and genomics approaches to better understand the fatal neurodegenerative disorders of Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease.

"By clarifying the genes and cellular pathways involved in these diseases we hope to identify novel strategies for treatment and therapy of these disorders. In our work we use simple, yet powerful genetic organisms such as baker's yeast and fruit flies to model aspects of these devastating diseases.

"In the current study we have used a novel functional genomics profiling approach to identify genes which can protect these simple organisms from disease symptoms. We then used computational approaches to uncover a network of interactions am
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Contact: Flaviano Giorgini
fg36@le.ac.uk
44-011-625-23485
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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