McMaster University

Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that deteriorates specific brain cells. McMaster University researchers have uncovered a new drug target that may be capable of prohibiting the start of Huntington’s disease similar to heart medications that slower the development of a heart disease and decrease attacks.

The landmark researchers came across drugs of the kinase inhibitors family that apparently target an enzyme capable of preventing Huntington’s known as IKK beta kinase. The drug apparently treats a chemical change that should possibly occur in Huntington’s protein but it does not occur in individuals with this disease.

Ray Truant, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster, commented “It is the first time anyone has identified drugs that affect how the huntington protein gets modified at one critical site, and through what pathway.”

Presently, kinase inhibitor drugs are the latest medications arriving in the market and have been seemingly been approved for many other problems like stroke, arthritis and cancer too. At present, investigators are on the lookout for inhibitors that can surpass the blood to brain blockage, before the onset of preliminary trials. If they achieve success with it, then human clinical trials may be just 5 or 6 years away.

Truant and Randy Singh Atwal, a PhD graduate, are supposedly the discoverers of hungtington protein. This protein plays a vital role in various chemical stresses that are associated with human aging. When responding to these stresses, the protein does not modify during the Huntington’s disease. According to researchers this is one of the main reasons of development of this disorder until middle age since the hungtington protein is crucial as a person ages.

The research is published in the May 29 online edition of Nature Chemical Biology.