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

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FDA approves a new drug for symptoms of Huntington's disease

FDA approves a new drug for symptoms of Huntington's disease

Dr Jeff Carroll on April 05, 2017

Significant news for the Huntington's disease community this week, as the USA's drug regulator, the FDA, has formally approved Austedo, also known as deutetrabenazine, for prescribing in HD. This modified form of tetrabenazine helps control chorea, the jerky movements often found in HD patients, but is taken twice rather than three times a day.

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Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference 2017 - Day 3

Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference 2017 - Day 3

Dr Ed Wild on April 30, 2017

The final day of the 2017 Huntington's Disease Therapeutics conference brought updates on research to better understand how HD affects brains, and breakthroughs in using brain cells to understand and treat HD.

Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference 2017 - Day 2

Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference 2017 - Day 2

Dr Jeff Carroll on April 29, 2017

Day two of the conference looks at some of the most promising approaches to fighting Huntington's disease.

Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference 2017 - Day 1

Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference 2017 - Day 1

Dr Jeff Carroll on April 27, 2017

Hi everyone! It's the annual Huntington's Disease Therapeutics Conference in Malta. Around 350 scientists from round the world all working on HD are gathered here to discuss the latest research developments. We're reporting live via twitter and aggregating our updates into daily articles.

Enemy at the gates – huntingtin disrupts nuclear transport

Enemy at the gates – huntingtin disrupts nuclear transport

Tom Peskett on April 21, 2017

Exciting new studies provide evidence that a particular kind of cellular trafficking goes awry in Huntington's Disease. Specifically, researchers have learned that traffic in and out of the cells control center - the nucleus - breaks down in HD. These findings open up new avenues for HD research.

Sheep leading the flock: metabolism and biomarkers in HD

Sheep leading the flock: metabolism and biomarkers in HD

Leora Fox on March 27, 2017

Beyond affecting movement, mood, and thinking, HD involves a complex set of changes to the body that can be difficult to predict in different individuals. Recently, researchers were able to identify consistent early changes in metabolism by studying a group of HD sheep. This large animal model is helping scientists to track altered substances in the blood that could predict HD progression and response to treatment.

Weeding out the truth: can cannabis improve Huntington’s?

Weeding out the truth: can cannabis improve Huntington’s?

Dr Michael Flower on February 24, 2017

Cannabis, or medical marijuana, has been touted as a treatment for lots of conditions, and Huntington’s disease is no exception. Whenever it hits the news there’s a lot of interest, and recently cannabis found the spotlight again with videos claiming it can reverse the nerve cell damage in Huntington’s disease. These are extraordinary assertions that deserve to be explored.

Huntingtin grabs a hammer: DNA repair in HD

Huntingtin grabs a hammer: DNA repair in HD

Leora Fox on February 22, 2017

DNA damage is a hot topic in HD – and new research offers an intriguing explanation. Canadian researchers have uncovered a potential role for huntingtin in the repair of DNA. They speculate that the normal protein is recruited to the nucleus to provide a supporting scaffold for a construction crew of DNA repair proteins. Mutant huntingtin can commute to the job, but can’t perform.

The benefits of migration, highlighted in Huntington's disease

The benefits of migration, highlighted in Huntington's disease

Dr Michael Flower on February 10, 2017

Huntingtin, the protein responsible for Huntington’s disease, is fundamentally important for fetuses to develop in the womb, but we don’t know yet exactly what part it plays in this intricate process. Normally, neurons start life deep within the developing brain, migrate out to the surface and then make a network of connections with others, but Sandrine Humbert’s group showed that those without huntingtin get stuck, never making it to where they need to go. Neurons with mutated huntingtin are no better than those that lack it completely. However, reintroducing normal huntingtin, or the proteins through which it acts, allows neurons to migrate normally again, offering tantalising new ways to treat Huntington’s disease.

Treasure your exceptions - using outliers to understand Huntington's disease onset and progression

Treasure your exceptions - using outliers to understand Huntington's disease onset and progression

Mr. Shawn Minnig on January 12, 2017

Researchers have long known that patients with a greater number of CAG repeats in their HD gene tend to display motor symptoms sooner than those with fewer CAG repeats. However, this relationship is not perfect. Sometimes HD patients display symptoms at a drastically different time than expected based on the number of CAG repeats alone, suggesting that maybe other genetic or environmental factors speed up or slow down the progression of HD. A recent study suggests that comparing patients with the most ‘extreme’ motor symptoms may help to uncover exactly what these factors are.