Huntington's News

UMMS researchers develop new technology to screen and analyze genetic mutations

Posted: 14th April 2011

WORCESTER, Mass. – A single change to even one of the thousands of DNA codes that make up each gene in the human genome can result in severe diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Huntington's Disease. A similarly minor change in the DNA of a virus or bacteria can give rise to drug resistant strains that are difficult for physicians to treat with standard drug therapies. For these reasons, scientists have long sought ways to study the effects genetic mutations can have on an organism but have been hampered in these efforts by an inability to easily and efficiently produce and analyze the thousands of potential changes possible in even one small gene.

A new study by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, published in Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online on April 4, describes a novel technique to produce all potential individual mutations and using deep sequencing technology simultaneously analyze each change's impact on the cell.

More information on the EurekAlert! website.

UK Insurers Agree to Extend Ban on Using Genetic Tests

Posted: 14th April 2011

The Association of British Insurers announced the extension of an agreement under which the results of genetic testing will not be used to deny insurance to applicants.

The agreement, known as the Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics, will now run until 2017. It was introduced in 2001 after agreement between the industry and the U.K. Department of Health.

Like to know more? Visit insurancenewsnet.com.

Huntington's disease protein has broader effects on brain, study shows

Posted: 14th April 2011

In Huntington's disease, the mutant protein known as huntingtin leads to the degeneration of a part of the brain known as the basal ganglia, causing the motor disturbances that represent one of the most defining features of the fatal disease. But a new study reported in the April issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, shows that the mutant protein also is responsible for metabolic imbalances in the hypothalamus, a brain region that plays an important role in appetite control.

"This helps to explain metabolic changes and increases in appetite that have been observed in people at the early stages of disease," even before any motor symptoms appear, said Åsa Petersén of Lund University in Sweden. "It should encourage us to do more clinical studies. If we really understand the pathways that are affected, it may lead to new targets for intervention."

Read the full story on the EurekAlert! website.

Developments on the Far North Coast

Posted: 24th February 2011

I (Mark Bevan) am planning a trip to the far north coast of NSW in April this year. I will be linking up with the Queensland Association, who currently provide support to Huntington’s families in the far north of NSW, and working with them on how the NSW Association can assist in providing support to Huntington’s families in that area.

In addition to that, I will be visiting other areas on the north coast down to around the Kempsey area. The preliminary plan is to travel in the week beginning April 11, and visit as many people as possible, catch up with some Qld Association workers, meet with Huntington’s families and related health professionals near the border, and those further south, down to around Coffs Harbour and Kempsey. If you live in any of the areas I have mentioned, I would love to hear from you – you can email me mark@ahdansw.asn.au or call me on 0410 629 850.

How disordered proteins spread from cell to cell, potentially spreading disease

Posted: 24th February 2011

One bad apple is all it takes to spoil the barrel. And one misfolded protein may be all that's necessary to corrupt other proteins, forming large aggregations linked to several incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Stanford biology Professor Ron Kopito has shown that the mutant, misfolded protein responsible for Huntington's disease can move from cell to cell, recruiting normal proteins and forming aggregations in each cell it visits.

Read more on EurekAlert.

Collaboration to advance therapy for Huntington’s Disease

Posted: 28th January 2011

UMass Medical School has entered into a research collaboration with pharmaceutical company Lundbeck Inc. aimed at further development of a targeted therapy to slow or halt the progression of Huntington’s disease (HD).

Read the full story at EurekAlert.

Genetic research offers hope of improved treatment for Huntington's disease

Posted: 27th January 2011

Research led by the University of Leicester in the UK has raised hopes about possible new treatments for devastating neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease, for which there is currently no cure. The trans-Atlantic team of scientists made the discoveries using cutting-edge genetic techniques. The study was partially funded by a Marie Curie grant under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and has been published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Read more at the European Commission CORDIS website.

Four UBC professors appointed to the Order of Canada

Posted: 9th January 2011

Four professors and three members of the UBC community have been named to the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. The Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of achievement and contribution to society.

Dr. Michael Hayden, a professor in the departments of medicine and medical genetics at UBC and the director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the Child and Family Research Institute, was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. This honour recognizes Dr. Hayden’s contribution to our understanding of Huntington’s disease and other genetic disorders.

Read the full story at the website of the University of British Columbia.

We have a new name!

Posted: 6th January 2011

Huntington's New South Wales is the trading name of the Australian Huntington's Disease Association (NSW) Inc., which remains our incorporation name. This name change was adopted by members at the recent AGM and follows recent name changes to the other state associations and to the national association.

All our contact and other details remain the same.

Huntington's symptoms appear a decade before diagnosis

Posted: 4th December 2010

People with Huntington's disease show symptoms more than a decade before they are likely to get a clinical diagnosis. These early effects of the disease don't affect day-to-day functioning, but they will help drug developers evaluate treatments that target the early stages of the disease.

Read more about this Australian research on the New Scientist website.

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