Navigation Links
Scientists Uncover New Weapon Against Huntington's

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:
Related Image:
Scientists Uncover New Weapon Against Huntington's
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... While powdered supplements and drinks can reduce food preparation time, locating the ... has found an easy to keep track of the scoop. , He developed a ... a canister or other container handy and readily accessible. As such, it prevents the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... announced at the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting, being held ... 60% growth from 2014. Throughout 2015, the company has completed installations for ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Volpara Solutions ... density assessment and enterprise analytics solutions, here at the 101st Annual Radiological ... booth #2377). Volpara’s quantitative breast imaging tools enable personalized measurements of volumetric ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... It’s inevitable that everyone will experience death in his or her lifetime. Whether ... among us. It is your perspective, however, that determines how you view death in ... Sky understands that she may see death more frequently than most. As she was ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... the speakers for “Value-Based Payer-Provider Partnerships: Three Case Studies,” an upcoming Dec. ... care arrangements: Essentia Health and UCare, MissionPoint Health Partners, and Intel Corp. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  Novartis will demonstrate the strength ... th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. ... as well as supportive care, including key findings in ... cell therapies. The ASH Annual Meeting will be held ... Novartis Oncology . "We will be presenting ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... BOSTON , November 30, 2015 ... medicines directed at up to 10 G protein-coupled receptor ... PFE ) to research and develop potential new medicines ... targets across multiple therapeutic areas. --> Heptares ... development company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... TEL AVIV, Israel , November 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... EMITF ) ("Elbit" or the "Company") announced today that it ... Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has approved ... behavioral disorders. --> --> ... presenting a non-invasive treatment alternative that combines two technologies: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: