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HSC Funded Research Reduces HD Symptoms in Mice

Huntington Society of Canada funds state-of-the-art research which reduces Huntington disease symptoms in mice

In the clip above you can see two videos for a vehicle-treated Huntington’s mouse (left) and a CTEP-treated mouse (right) during the horizontal ladder walking task. As you can tell, the vehicle treated mouse takes longer to cross the ladder and makes a lot of slips (errors) while placing the paw on the rungs. On the other hand, CTEP-treated mouse can finish multiple trials in a shorter time with less error compared to the vehicle-treated one.

(KITCHENER, ON) JANUARY 22, 2018 –Research funded by the Huntington Society of Canada (HSC) and conducted by Dr. Stephen Ferguson, from the University of Ottawa Brain & Mind Research Institute, has shown to reduced Huntington disease (HD) symptoms in mice. Dr. Ferguson’s research uses Roche Pharmaceuticals CTEP inhibitor which also reduces Huntington pathology in the brains of treated mice.

“Targeting mGluR5 in the treatment of Huntington disease has great potential,” says Dr. Stephen Ferguson.  “It works to reduce HD-like symptoms in mice because it affects the levels of huntingtin and the inclusions of mutant huntingtin in mouse brains.  This state-of-the-art model for HD drug development turns on the pathways that are supposed to clear mutant huntingtin. These pathways are currently turned off in someone who has Huntington disease.” Dr. Ferguson’s research was published in Science Signaling http://stke.sciencemag.org/content/10/510/eaan6387

“The Huntington Society of Canada is proud to fund such leading edge research,” says Bev Heim-Myers, CEO of the Huntington Society of Canada. “Where a mouse model is different than a human brain, in principle this work could lead to treatments for humans in the future.  The hope is to bring this research to clinical trials.”

Dr. Ferguson’s research was funded through HSC’s Navigator Research Program which supports basic scientific research in Canada that is of direct and immediate relevance to Huntington disease research globally. The aim of the research program is to provide a platform for the recruitment of outstanding investigators to HD research, to facilitate research collaboration nationally and internationally and to support research that is relevant to other neurodegenerative disorders. The competition is run annually and is currently accepting letters of intent.

“This is an exciting time in Huntington disease research,” explains Bev Heim-Myers.  “For the first time ever, human clinical trials are taking place that address the root cause of Huntington disease.  Dr. Ferguson’s research is complementary and adds value to current research that is in clinical trials as it uses a separate pathway to deliver the treatment; as such it could be used in conjunction with ASOs.  Innovative research initiatives, such as the work being done by Dr. Ferguson and his team, have the potential to transform HD research, and the answers we find for Huntington disease will likely lead to better understanding of treatments for other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS.”

View and download the full press release here.


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