January 17, 2014
The year 2014 is off to an amazing start for the HD community and all Canadians.
Last week Dr. Stephen Ferguson, from Western University in London, Ontario, published a paper in Human Molecular Genetics, which is promising for future treatments of Huntington disease.
The Huntington Society of Canada is proud to have funded Dr. Ferguson’s research on glutamate receptors and we are very aware that this was made possible by our donors believing that we will make a difference.
Glutamate receptors are a significant area of pharmaceutical research and this work has a logical next step to test compounds that target mGluR5. What is also notable is that there could be application of this discovery to other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. We know that when looking for answers to Huntington disease there are overlapping pathologies to other neurological diseases and likely, the answers we find for Huntington disease, will lead to better understanding of treatments for Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s. For more information please read the latest edition of In The Know and sign up now to read a future interview with Dr. Ferguson in our Spring Horizon newsletter.
I have just returned from Ottawa after presenting to the Canadian Human Rights Commissioners about genetic discrimination in Canada. I also had the opportunity to participate in a meeting with the Federal Privacy Commissioner’s office that focused on next steps in making Canada a genetic, fair country. Decision makers understand that genetic discrimination by insurance companies and employers exists in Canada. It is time we changed that. Senator Cowan’s Bill S201 has helped to further that conversation.
Canada is the only G8 Country that does not protect our genetic information, allowing insurance companies and employers to use our own personal, and complicated, genetic information against us. Science has progressed rapidly and our genetic information can be used to our benefit to prevent, treat and make informed decisions when faced with future potential health risk. We are steps closer to Canadians not having to be fearful of genetic tests and genetic sequencing, which may lead to answers for continued good health. I am encouraged by the support from our policy influencers and legislators to help Canada catch up to the other G8 Countries and end genetic discrimination.
We have a chance to seize this opportunity and now is the time. Our government has identified ending genetic discrimination as a priority, in the Throne Speech. Show them you support this initiative and contact your MP, MPP and Senator. Let them know that it is time Canada protected all Canadians and removed barriers to living healthier lives, by ending genetic discrimination.
This week was indeed a very good week for our HD community and all Canadians.