Navigation Links
Scientists Uncover New Weapon Against Huntington's
Date:4/3/2009

Treatment could save brain cells from ravages of neurodegenerative disease

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Harvard scientists say they've found a possible way to prevent brain cells from falling victim to the ravages of Huntington's disease.

The work is still in the preliminary stages, and the researchers don't know if the strategy will work in humans. Still, a Huntington's disease expert said the findings could lead to a way to combat the incurable condition.

"They suggest a new way that you could approach developing treatments. I think it's going to emerge as a theme," said University of California at Irvine professor Leslie Thompson.

Huntington's disease is inherited, and children of parents with a single faulty gene have at least a 50 percent chance of developing it. The condition typically develops in middle age, causing the body to move involuntarily, leading to symptoms such as balance and coordination problems, slurred speech, swallowing problems and dementia.

Death typically occurs within 10 to 30 years.

There's no treatment to stop the progression of Huntington's disease or cure it, although patients can take drugs to control their symptoms.

"It's like when you have a rotten tooth," said study co-author Dr. Dimitri Krainc. "You can take painkillers so you don't feel the pain, but the tooth is still rotten."

Krainc, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues tried to find a way to reduce the build-up of proteins in brain cells stricken by the disease.

Essentially, Krainc said, proteins pile up in the cells and cause problems. "It's like trash that doesn't get picked up in a crowded apartment," he said, "If you don't remove trash, it eventually suffocates you."

Indeed, clogged cells either stop functioning properly or die, Thompson said.

In the new study, the researchers tinkered with the troublesome proteins through genetic modification. They report their findings in the April 3 issue of Cell.

According to Krainc, the researchers found that their approach allowed proteins within the cells to degrade as they're supposed to. The strategy worked in worms, mice and the brain cells taken from dead people.

Drugs known as HDAC inhibitors have the same effect and are already being tested as treatments for Huntington's disease and cancer, Krainc said. The drugs are currently used to treat psychiatric disorders.

There are many unknowns, however. Researchers don't know whether the treatment will work in humans, and the potential costs of drugs are unclear.

Still, research may take a matter of years, not decades, Krainc said.

In the big picture, the new research "could have broad implications for a number of neurodegenerative diseases," Thompson said.

Alzheimer's disease, for example, is also caused when cells become clogged and fail to function properly.

"It's an extremely exciting and promising area of research," Thompson said, "and new and novel."

More information

To learn more about Huntington's disease, try the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Dimitri Krainc, M.D., Ph.D., professor, neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Leslie Thompson, Ph.D., professor, psychiatry and human behavior, University of California at Irvine; April 3, 2009, Cell


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New prion protein discovered by Canadian scientists may offer insight into mad cow disease
2. Scientists Probe Sepsis Deadly Secrets
3. Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
4. Scientists Develop Natural Protection for Stored Foods
5. Scientists detect presence of marburg virus in african fruit bats
6. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
7. Scientists ID Likely Culprit in Popcorn Lung
8. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
9. Scripps Research scientists shed new light on how antibodies fight HIV
10. Scientists, physicians present latest findings in personalized cancer treatment and prevention
11. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists Uncover New Weapon Against Huntington's
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on ... Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability ... fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, ... ... to helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented ... for the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... To deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or ... Center of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 ... by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of ... honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are ... Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute ... presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical ... Preservative), Formulation (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast ... The global pharmaceutical excipients ... 2021 at a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... to their offering. The ... commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. The US ageing population ... to drive considerable growth for effective anti-influenza medications. The introduction ... considerably, but development is still in its infancy. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: