Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Trial Starts for New Huntington's Drug

Landmark Huntington's Trial Starts

"The first drug that can potentially correct the underlying defect that causes Huntington's disease has been taken by patients in a clinical trial. The disease is caused by the brain producing a mutant protein called huntingtin which damages and ultimately kills off brain cells. As Huntington's progresses it leads to uncontrolled movements, behavior changes and poor cognition. Life expectancy after diagnosis can be as short as 10 years."

The drug used in the clinical trial is known as a gene silencer. It works by targeting mRNA (messenger RNA) strands which contain the instructions for the mutated protein. The drug was manufactured to bind to the mRNA and neutralize it. The drug will be administered via injections into the spinal cord over the course of four months and then the patients will be observed for an additional three months.

This is an amazing step forward in the field of medicine. Not only is Huntington's incurable to date, but the medications for it only treat the symptoms while doing nothing to slow the damage. The article goes on to discuss the safety precautions the clinicians are taking while administering the drug. Hopefully, the results for the human trials are as promising as the pre-clinical work.

1 comment:

  1. It's pretty cool to learn that this gene silencer attaches to the mRNA. It seems like it would be painful to have the injections into the spinal cord, but it is really awesome that this advance has been made in Huntington's research. It'll be interesting to see the results of this trial and if this could possibly be used more widespread. Hopefully the drug is able to both help treat the symptoms and slow the damage being done by this disease.