Huntington’s is an incurable inherited condition which affects the brain and muscular functions. Treatments available at present are designed only to manage symptoms of the condition.
Now however, new research findings at NUI Galway show that the progression of the disease can be slowed down by inhibiting specific enzymes.
These enzymes, called histone deacetylase complexes (HDACs), are “positive agents” in cell mutation, which is a major factor in Huntington’s disease. When these enzymes are active, they are believed to make the condition more severe.
The NUIG team has found that the risk of further mutation can be reduced by blocking these enzymes with experimental drugs.
Pinpointing the specific enzymes for “selective inhibition” was a key finding in the research, according to Prof Robert Lahue of the Centre for Chromosome Biology, leader of the research team.
The new inhibitors are currently being tested in several laboratories in the US. Prof Lahue and his team hope to work with these laboratories to evaluate the effects of the inhibitors.