Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative and deadly pathology caused by the mutations of a gene - huntingtin - that results in the destruction of neurons in an area of the brain. It is characterized by cognitive alterations, which in advanced stages of the disease lead to dementia, and by involuntary movements of the extremities.
So far this disease has no cure, and the drugs used in the treatment of Huntington are aimed at alleviating the symptoms suffered by patients and thus improve their quality of life. But the research continues, and a study conducted in the United States, which has just been published in the journal 'Neuron' has tested a new therapy in mouse models and primates of this pathology that, in the short term, has brought benefits.
The motor function of the animals submitted to the therapy improved after one month, reaching a normal activity within two months
The authors of the work were able to decrease the levels of mutant huntingtin in all areas of the brain, in several mouse models and non-human primates of HD, something that had not been previously achieved.
The motor function of the animals submitted to the therapy improved after one month, reaching normal activity within two months. The psychiatric and motor improvements were maintained for nine months after treatment. In addition, they also managed to block brain atrophy and increase the life expectancy of mice suffering from a severe form of the disease.
According to the lead author of the research, Don Cleveland, from the University of California (San Diego), the finding may help to develop a new treatment for people affected by Huntington or any other neurodegenerative pathology that has a known genetic cause.