Huntington's is an inherited, incurable neurodegenerative disease affecting 35,000 people annually. The disease gradually kills nerve cells in the brain, stripping away a person's physical abilities and causing hallucinations, antisocial behavior and paranoia. People diagnosed with the disease usually die 15 to 20 years from the onset of symptoms, and there is an increased rate of suicide among those struggling with the disease.
TONING DOWN AN ACTIVE PROTEIN PROVIDES HOPE FOR HUNTINGTON'S PATIENTS A huge leap forward in understanding Huntington's disease may give patients hope for a cure. Laboratory tests on skin cells and post-mortem brain tissue of Huntington's disease patients determined that an overactive protein triggers a chain reaction that causes brain nerve cells to die. Toning down the activity of that protein, known as DRP1, prevented the chain reaction and kept those cells alive, according to the research team led by University of Central Florida Professor Ella Bossy-Wetzel.