Huntington's protein builds up gradually, study claims

Huntington's protein builds up gradually, study claims

The protein that causes Huntington's disease builds up gradually in the blood, a new study has observed.

Using a new light-based technique, a cohort of researchers from University College London, the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and Kings College London, found that the mutant protein huntingtin progressively increases in the blood, corresponding with the rate of brain shrinkage.

Professor Sarah Tabrizi, leader of the study, explained: "The fact that mutant huntingtin levels correlate with brain atrophy tells us we're dealing with something that's relevant to the process of brain degeneration in [Huntington's disease]."

Researchers claim the findings are integral to increasing the understanding of how the protein causes damage in the brain and could be used to allow doctors to more effectively monitor the progression of Huntington's.

What's more, it highlights the importance of developing drugs to suppress huntingtin.

This is the first time a blood test has been used successfully to predict brain shrinkage and could hold clues to developing a similar process for other neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Find out how Barchester works to create safe and understanding environments for those living with Huntington's disease.