Huntington’s disease research news. In plain language. Written by scientists. For the global HD community.
DNA is the longest instruction manual on Earth. Because it's so long, cells use special helper proteins called HDACs to shut down sections of the manual they don’t use very often. Now, scientists have shown that interfering with one specific HDAC improves HD-related problems in cells and mice — but does so in an unexpected way.
The Hereditary Disease Foundation, or HDF, is a key player in the world of Huntington's disease research. At the HDF's recent biennial scientific meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts - 'The Milton Wexler Celebration of Life and Creativity' - HDBuzz met Nancy and Alice Wexler, the remarkable sisters at the heart of the HDF's work.
Thinking skills and disordered control of gene switching are both problems in Huntington's disease. Now Spanish researchers have linked the two, through a protein called CBP. And a 'histone deacetylase inhibitor' drug can prevent both problems in HD mice.
One way the Huntington's disease gene causes damage is by interfering with the control of many other genes. HDAC inhibitors are drugs that aim to correct this, and researchers are working on bringing them to human trials. Meanwhile, the world of HDACs has produced an interesting lead in the search for biomarkers to help us test drugs.