Dr Gregory Williams and Prof Bob Lahue from Galway Neuroscience Centre have led an international study on Huntington’s disease that was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes serious cognitive, psychological and movement symptoms. HD normally affects adults and lasts approximately 15 years until premature fatality.
Postdoctoral fellow Dr Gregory Williams and principal investigator Prof Bob Lahue studied how a protein called MutSb makes HD worse. “Recent research in HD shows that highly-active MutSb causes HD to occur earlier in life and to accelerate patient decline once the disease begins. We wanted to know if there is a way to deactivate MutSb and thereby possibly slow the genetic changes that occur in HD.”
Using cell experiments, Williams showed that blocking an enzyme called HDAC3 prevents activation of MutSb. The publication went on to show how this process works. Valuable contributions from collaborators in the UK and USA added key information to complete the study.
Lahue comments that experimental drugs in preclinical studies showed that inhibiting HDAC3 provided multiple benefits. “The drugs are still experimental and require further testing before clinical trials can be considered. However, we are now one step closer to that goal.”
Link to the original publication: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2020/09/04/2013223117.full.pdf
Congratulations Bob and Gregory on this fantastic publication from all in the Galway Neuroscience Centre!