A study, led by Professor Sarah Tabrizi, published in the Lancet Neurology could help pinpoint the optimal time to begin treating people who are gene positive for HD. Currently, there is no cure for Huntington’s, but there are several genetic therapies in clinical trials that hold great promise.
The significance of this finding is that it would allow researchers to measure the effectiveness of new clinical trials at a much earlier, pre-symptom phase for people who are gene positive.
The goal for researchers is to be able to start a treatment before the genetic mutation causes functional impairment. Unlike many neurological diseases, people who know they are at-risk for HD (because one parent has the genetic mutation) can take a blood test to determine if neurodegeneration will occur.
Other research has shown that cognitive, neuropsychiatric and subtle motor impairments can appear 10-15 years before clinical diagnosis of the disease. Starting treatment before impairments begin holds great promise.