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Fresh hope for Huntingdon's sufferers

27th February 2006

Neural transplants may provide a much-welcomed relief to those suffering from Huntingdon's disease, according to new research.

A group of French scientists writing in the Lancet Neurology today believe that transplanting brain cells into patients with the disease may produce long-term benefits.

Huntingdon's is a degenerative and progressive disease that is caused by a defect in a gene that produces a protein.

It causes physical, mental and emotional changes in sufferers, which may not be noticeable before the ages of 30 to 50. There is currently no cure for the illness and it is hereditary.

Scientists have discovered that one possible treatment for the disease is to inject foetal cells into the brain to replace those that are damaged by the disease.

The French team tested this method in five patients and reviewed their progress after two years. They found that brain function had improved in three.

Today's report reflects further on these results and concludes that the transplants provided several years of improvement.

Approximately 4,800 people suffer from Huntingdon's disease in the UK.