Apr 10, 2014 – Huntington’s Help

April 10, 2014

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ANCHOR LEAD: CAN A MOUSE MODEL HELP PEOPLE WITH HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Huntington’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder slowly robbing people of both cognitive and movement ability, until full time care is required at the end of life. Now Solomon Snyder and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have found that deficiency in an enzyme that makes the amino acid cysteine may account for many of these neuron deaths, and correcting that may be fairly straightforward.

SNYDER: We have to be very cautious about extrapolating from mouse to man because there are big, big differences, and we certainly don’t want to get up false hopes in anybody, but it is not unreasonable that treatment with precursors of the amino acid cysteine might be beneficial. The precursor of cysteine that we give called n-acetyl cysteine would get into the brain. :23

Penetrating the brain can be problematic with many therapies. The study was published recently online in the journal Nature. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

 

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