A Message from our Prez

Dave Hodgson

From the Summer 1999 issue of Hopes & Dreams, newsletter of the Illinois Chapter, Huntington's Disease Society of America.

Dear Friends,

Since Paula and I have been members of the Huntington's Disease Society of America, we have heard from the "experts" that a treatment or cure for HD is "just around the corner"... hopefully, we're only about five years away from a treatment"..."it's out there, the cure, we just need a little more time," and on and on it went, always just out of our collective reach. As Dr. Chris Ross, from Johns- Hopkins, stated at the February Leadership Conference, the search for the cure is like the gold rush. The first nugget of gold found was the gene itself. The second nugget was the HD mouse. The third nugget was the ability to slice DNA and drop it into a test tube and test drugs on the strands of DNA. We've found some nuggets, and now it's time to find the "gold vein" of treatment and/or cure for HD. By the time you read this you may also have heard of a fourth nugget of gold. And I quote:

"Inhibitors of caspase-1 slows disease progression in a mouse model of Huntington's disease."

And again, another quote: "Here we demonstrate evidence of caspase-1 activation in the brains of mice and humans with the disease. In this transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease, expression of a dominant negative caspase-1 mutant extends survival and delays the appearance of neuronal inclusions, neurotransmitter receptor alterations and onset of symptoms, indicating that caspase-1 is important in the pathogenesis of the disease. In addition, we demonstrate that intracerebroventricular administration of a caspase inhibitor delays disease progression and mortality in the mouse model of Huntington's disease."

What does this mean to us in layman's terms? I'm not sure yet, but it seems that if the researchers can find some way to slow down the enzyme, caspase-1, perhaps our loved ones with HD will live a lot longer. In the study quoted above, HD mice injected with a caspase-1 inhibitor lived an average of 25% longer than those who did not receive the inhibitor. The MAY be great news for humans. Hopefully, this is an important nugget in discovering a treatment or cure for HD.

I will be attending the National Convention in Washington, D.C. this June, and I'm sure this study will be greatly discussed. In the next issue of Hopes and Dreams I'll let you know everything that I hear!

I hope each and every one of you are enjoying this great summer.

Love and Peace,

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Created: July 12, 1999
Last updated: Dec. 4, 2010