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New Therapeutic Target for Huntington’s Disease Discovered

One of the most feared neurodegenerative disorders known is Huntington’s disease. So far, there is no cure discovered for this health problem that causes the decline of brain functions such as movement, behavior, and mental function. However, a new study provides hope for a cure as it has discovered a new therapeutic target for this disease: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269398.php

Huntington’s disease was discovered in 1993, and has perplexed scientists and medical professionals from all over the world ever since. It is a genetic disorder that affects one of every 10,000 individuals. A kind of late-onset disease, it normally takes effect around the 35-year-old mark. Once afflicted, a steady decline on the patient’s health condition is observed, and death usually ensues around 20 years after first diagnosis.

It is known that Huntington’s disease is caused by the mutation of a gene, causing the creation of the protein “huntingtin”. This protein causes particular amino acids within proteins to clump together, which ultimately leads to the death of nerve cells. According to the researchers, led by Prof. Gillian Bates of King’s College in London, inhibiting histone deacetylases (HDACs) causes the inhibition of huntingtin production.

Further studies must still be performed, as there are 11 different HDACs, making it difficult to pinpoint which particular enzyme must actually be inhibited. Bates and her colleagues discovered that inhibiting HDAC4, one form of HDAC enzyme, caused the recovery of nerve function in mice. Nerve function, coordination, and even lifespan are all improved for those tested. Such discovery presents hope for a future cure for Huntington’s disease worldwide.

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