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

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Latest news

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.

A powerful message: does a toxic RNA message molecule cause harm in Huntington's disease?

A powerful message: does a toxic RNA message molecule cause harm in Huntington's disease?

Dr Jeff Carroll on December 30, 2016

Researchers have long believed that the Huntington's disease gene causes problems by telling cells to make a harmful protein. Intriguing new animal work from researchers in Spain suggests we might want to look at more than one suspect to completely fix the problems caused by the HD mutation.

Pfizer Amaryllis trial ends in disappointment: no improvement in Huntington's disease symptoms

Pfizer Amaryllis trial ends in disappointment: no improvement in Huntington's disease symptoms

Dr Ed Wild on December 16, 2016

Pfizer has announced that the first-pass analysis of its 'Amaryllis' trial, testing a PDE-10 inhibitor drug, shows the drug did not meet its target of improving Huntington's disease symptoms. As a result, the open-label extension study will be stopped. This is not the news we'd been hoping for, but we've learned a lot about HD along the way.

Important advances in next generation genome editing tools for Huntington's Disease

Important advances in next generation genome editing tools for Huntington's Disease

Mr. Shawn Minnig on October 31, 2016

Recent days have seen a slew of news emerging regarding the use of something called genome editing as a potential therapy for genetic diseases like Huntington's Disease. These approaches, which include exotic sounding tools like zinc finger nucleases and CRISPR/Cas9, differ from more traditional ways reducing the impact of the HD mutation on cells. What's new in this exciting area of research?

Sorry folks, the PRIDE-HD trial did NOT show that Pridopidine slows the progression of Huntington's disease

Sorry folks, the PRIDE-HD trial did NOT show that Pridopidine slows the progression of Huntington's disease

Dr Jeff Carroll on September 30, 2016

A recent press release from Teva Pharmaceuticals has the HD community excited, claiming "Pridopidine Demonstrates Slowing of Progression of Huntington Disease in PRIDE-HD Study". What's pridopidine, and what can we really say about HD progression in patients treated with it?