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Huntington's Disease Could Hold Key to Alzheimer's Treatment

Dr. Donald C. Lo of Duke University Medical Center discusses how finding a cure for Huntington's disease (HD) could affect millions of people with major neurological disorders

By Mary C. Edmondson, MD - Duke University Medical Center - President, HD Reach

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013 - 5:40 am

DURHAM, N.C., July 23, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Huntington's disease, or HD, an inherited brain disorder that affects roughly 30,000 people in the U.S., could hold the key to finding treatments or even a cure for Alzheimer's and other major neurological disorders that affect millions of people.

What sets HD apart from other central nervous system disorders and makes HD research critical is that everyone who carries the abnormal gene will get the disease.

"HD really is the paradigmatic neurodegenerative disease because a single gene leads to degeneration of certain parts of the central nervous system of the brain," says Dr. Donald C. Lo, Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center.

"So most researchers and the pharmaceutical industry feel if you could cure Huntington's disease, you would gain tremendous insight into treating many of these other neurodegenerative disorders," such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, he says.

Unprecedented levels of philanthropic funding and research are focused on HD, says Lo, who directs the Duke Center for Drug Discovery.

HD research will be the focus of the 7th Annual Huntington Study Group Clinical Research Symposium, which will be held November 7-9 in Charlotte.

The event is jointly sponsored by Charlotte AHEC and the Huntington Study Group, an international network of clinical researchers who study and care for patients and families with Huntington's disease.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/07/23/5588137/huntingtons-disease-could-hold.html#storylink=cpy