Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Proposed drug may reverse Huntington's disease symptoms: Single treatment gives long-term improvement in animals

Date:
June 20, 2012
Source:
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
Summary:
With a single drug treatment, researchers can silence the mutated gene responsible for Huntington’s disease, slowing and partially reversing progression of the fatal neurodegenerative disorder in animal models.

Stained mouse neurons.
Credit: Image courtesy of Taylor Bayouth.

With a single drug treatment, researchers at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine can silence the mutated gene responsible for Huntington's disease, slowing and partially reversing progression of the fatal neurodegenerative disorder in animal models.

Related Articles


The findings are published in the June 21, 2012 print issue of the journal Neuron.

Researchers suggest the drug therapy, tested in mouse and non-human primate models, could produce sustained motor and neurological benefits in human adults with moderate and severe forms of the disorder. Currently, there is no effective treatment.

Huntington's disease afflicts approximately 30,000 Americans, whose symptoms include uncontrolled movements and progressive cognitive and psychiatric problems. The disease is caused by the mutation of a single gene, which results in the production and accumulation of toxic proteins throughout the brain.

Don W. Cleveland, PhD, professor and chair of the UC San Diego Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and colleagues infused mouse and primate models of Huntington's disease with one-time injections of an identified DNA drug based on antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). These ASOs selectively bind to and destroy the mutant gene's molecular instructions for making the toxic huntingtin protein.

The singular treatment produced rapid results. Treated animals began moving better within one month and achieved normal motor function within two. More remarkably, the benefits persisted, lasting nine months, well after the drug had disappeared and production of the toxic proteins had resumed.

"For diseases like Huntington's, where a mutant protein product is tolerated for decades prior to disease onset, these findings open up the provocative possibility that transient treatment can lead to a prolonged benefit to patients," said Cleveland. "This finding raises the prospect of a 'huntingtin holiday,' which may allow for clearance of disease-causing species that might take weeks or months to re-form. If so, then a single application of a drug to reduce expression of a target gene could 'reset the disease clock,' providing a benefit long after huntingtin suppression has ended."

Beyond improving motor and cognitive function, researchers said the ASO treatment also blocked brain atrophy and increased lifespan in mouse models with a severe form of the disease. The therapy was equally effective whether one or both huntingtin genes were mutated, a positive indicator for human therapy.

Cleveland noted that the approach was particularly promising because antisense therapies have already been proven safe in clinical trials and are the focus of much drug development. Moreover, the findings may have broader implications, he said, for other "age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases that develop from exposure to a mutant protein product" and perhaps for nervous system cancers, such as glioblastomas.

Co-authors are first author Holly B. Kordasiewicz, Melissa M. McAlonis, Kimberly A. Pytel and Jonathan W. Artates, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and UC San Diego Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine; Lisa M. Stanek, Seng H. Cheng and Lamya S. Shihabuddin, Genzyme Corporation; Edward V. Wancewicz, Curt Mazur, Gene Hung and C. Frank Bennett, Isis Pharmaceuticals; and Andreas Weiss, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.

Funding for this research came, in part, from the CHDI Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kordasiewicz et al. Sustained therapeutic reversal of Huntington's disease by transient repression of huntingtin synthesis. Neuron, June 21, 2012

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "Proposed drug may reverse Huntington's disease symptoms: Single treatment gives long-term improvement in animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620132924.htm>.
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. (2012, June 20). Proposed drug may reverse Huntington's disease symptoms: Single treatment gives long-term improvement in animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620132924.htm
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. "Proposed drug may reverse Huntington's disease symptoms: Single treatment gives long-term improvement in animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620132924.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins