NEWLY-PUBLISHED RESEARCH from NUI Galway has shown encouraging early signs for a potential treatment for Huntington’s disease.
The disease, which causes serious cognitive and movement defects, is debilitating, untreatable and fatal.
Professor Robert Lahue and his team at the Centre for Chromosome Biology and the Galway Neuroscience Centre worked with scientists at the University of Barcelona in a bid to edge closer to finding a treatment.
In particular, they targeted an enzyme which is thought to speed up the progression of the disease.
The new study published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that blocking the enzyme with an experimental compound slows cognitive decline. The research also showed that it slows down “the onset of molecular signs of neurodegeneration”.
NUI Galway’s Professor Lahue said: “While these results are preliminary, the data shows that the onset of Huntington’s disease is delayed when HDAC3 (the enzyme) is blocked in this pre-clinical setting. This is an encouraging first step because currently there are no effective treatments that target the root cause of the disease.”
Professor Lahue also praised the key role of the Spanish collaborators and co-authors, Dr Silvia Ginés and Nuria Suelves.
Professor Lahue and Dr Ginés have applied for additional funding to develop the treatment further and to assess additional safety aspects.
Science Foundation Ireland and the European Huntington’s Disease Network supported the research in Ireland.