Huntington's disease is a product of two proteins which combine to cause the incurable condition, new research has found.
It is believed that the study, which was carried out by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and reported in journal Science, will create new paths for scientists to follow when targeting drug therapies at the ailment.
The Rhes protein, which is only found in cells that are associated with movement, is believed to attach to a mutant huntingtin protein - which is found everywhere in the body - resulting in the pair killing brain cells within as little as 48 hours.
Commenting on the discovery, Professor Solomon Snyder said: "It's always been a mystery why, if the protein made by the Huntington's disease gene is seen in all cells of the body, only the brain, and only a particular part of the brain, the corpus striatum, deteriorates."
The Huntington's Disease Association is the UK's registered charity to support those with the condition, providing information and advice to families, friends and healthcare professionals.
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