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New hope for Huntington’s sufferers

10th March 2006

Researchers in the US have made a breakthrough that could lead to a new treatment for Huntington's disease.

Scientists from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claim to have found a compound that disrupts the pathogenic effects of the disease.

The B2 substance is believed to help form large protein inclusions in cells, that recent research suggests may help protect sufferers against the spread of the disease rather than cause it, as has previously been thought.

There is currently no cure for the genetically inherited disease that causes cognitive impairment and uncontrolled movements, although the new drug may go some way to slowing down the degenerative process.

"There are now some drugs that can help with the symptoms, but we can't stop the course of the disease or its onset," said Ruth Bodner from MIT's Center for Cancer Research.

The compound is also believed to offer Parkinson's sufferers similar protection.