Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.

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Latest news

Going toe-to-toe with tau: new insights into the chemical basis of Huntington’s disease

Going toe-to-toe with tau: new insights into the chemical basis of Huntington’s disease

Siddharth Nath on September 13, 2014

We know that the cause of Huntington's disease is a genetic change, resulting a harmful protein: mutant huntingtin. But other proteins can get dragged into the fray and contribute to the problems faced by HD-affected cells. New research suggests that a rather notorious protein, called 'tau' – a known troublemaker in other degenerative brain diseases – builds up and causes damage in HD.

New results bring BDNF therapies into focus

New results bring BDNF therapies into focus

Dr Jeff Carroll on August 18, 2014

Cells in the brain depend on support from one another to stay alive. Nutrients called trophic factors act like brain fertilizer, keeping neighboring brain cells healthy. This process has long been thought to go wrong in HD, and exciting new mouse research paints a very clear picture of exactly what's happening.

2CARE study of coenzyme Q for Huntington's disease ends in disappointment

2CARE study of coenzyme Q for Huntington's disease ends in disappointment

Dr Jeff Carroll on August 13, 2014

The largest ever therapeutic trial for Huntington's disease was halted early this week because an analysis of the results to date showed that it was very unlikely to show positive results. The study, called 2CARE, was designed to test whether a treatment called coenzyme Q10 could slow the progression of HD.

A starring role for astrocytes in Huntington's disease?

A starring role for astrocytes in Huntington's disease?

Terry Jo Bichell on July 29, 2014

We know those famous cells called neurons are important in Huntington's disease. But the brain has other cell types with 'supporting actor' roles. New research has shown that brain cells called astrocytes may misbehave in HD, allowing the neurons to malfunction.

HD mice provide a useful failure

HD mice provide a useful failure

Dr Jeff Carroll on July 22, 2014

The goal of everyone in the HD community is to come up with effective therapies for the disease. A recent publication describes a study in an HD mouse model that comprehensively shows that a proposed therapeutic approach doesn't work. Why are we excited about this bad news?

Illuminating the progression of Huntington’s disease

Illuminating the progression of Huntington’s disease

Dr Tamara Maiuri on June 25, 2014

Huntington’s disease (HD) progression is a long process in which the first changes in the brain happen well before we even see symptoms in patients. It makes sense to focus our efforts on treating the earliest changes, to nip the problem in the bud. But what are these changes and how can we target them? A recent study has literally shed some light on this question. By creating HD mice with glowing brain cells, researchers at the University of Nottingham Medical School and the Babraham Institute in the UK have found that some of the earliest changes happen before these cells start to die, in a region of the brain where HD researchers have never before thought to look.

Jumping genes: Huntington's disease protein invades brain transplants

Jumping genes: Huntington's disease protein invades brain transplants

Dr Jeff Carroll on May 26, 2014

Huntington's disease is caused by the malfunctioning and early death of brain cells. Replacing those dead and dying cells with stem cells has long been a goal of some HD scientists. A new study investigates the long-term health of some of the earliest cell transplants into HD patient brains — and finds a surprising result.

The brain in Huntington's disease: greater than the sum of its parts?

The brain in Huntington's disease: greater than the sum of its parts?

Dr Jeff Carroll on May 19, 2014

The symptoms of HD are caused by damage to the brain, but not all parts of the brain are affected equally. This raises an important question - if we had a treatment that could help only a small part of the brain, which part would we pick? A new mouse study from William Yang, at UCLA, attempts to answer this question.

NUB1: enhancing clearance to decrease mutant huntingtin

NUB1: enhancing clearance to decrease mutant huntingtin

Lakshini Mendis on May 12, 2014

Huntington’s disease is caused by the accumulation of the toxic mutant huntingtin (mHTT) protein. This means that decreasing levels of mHTT, by boosting its breakdown, could be therapeutically beneficial. Palacino and colleagues have identified a possible contender for this role: negative regulator of ubiquitin-like protein 1, better known as NUB1.