Trials & Research

Table of contents

What is Huntington’s disease?
Symptoms:

– Presence and treatment

– Benefits of exercise
– How to use music as therapy
Huntingtin lowering: developing new treatments
Huntington Research:
– How research is carried out
– Enroll-HD and taking part in research
– New variant of Juvenile Huntington’s disease
Conferences
– EHDN: World’s largest Huntington conference

– CHDI: Latest research 

What is Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a genetic disease, which means it can be passed down through families. 

In 2016 we met Tove and Angela. They’re both diagnosed with Huntington’s. Our board member, Svein Olaf Olsen, sat down to talk about the disease. 

Presence and Treatment of Psychiatric Symptoms

What are the most common psychiatric symptoms in people with Huntington’s disease? And what can you do about them? In this 14 minute presentation by Karen E Anderson from Georgetown University, you can learn more about psychiatric symptoms – with apathy in particular.

(This talk is especially targeted towards professionals but it can be useful to family members as well)

Treating the symptoms

Prof. Dr. med Jean-Marc Burgunder works in Switzerland. Among many things, Jean-Marc conduct research and work with genetic counseling

There is currently no cure and no treatment that slows or stops Huntington’s disease progression. But there are treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms – for instance physiotherapy and exercise. 

The Benefits of Exercise

Research on physical activity has shown several benefits for people with Huntington’s disease: improved quality of life and confidence, improved balance, ability to walk further and faster, prevention of stress and reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Therefore, the European Huntington’s Disease Network (EHDN) Physiotherapy Working Group have developed a resource. We call it Active Huntingtons!

You can find simple tips and activities at our Active Huntingtons resource.

How to use Music as Therapy

For Music Therapist Sunniva Ulstein Kayser, music is an important channel for communication. It offers a way to see more of the person and it establish an equal platform for interaction.

Want to learn more about how to use music as therapy? We will run a music therapy-workshop during our conference in Bucharest 4.-6. October 2019. Join the event for more information.

Read more about Sunniva’s experiences with music therapy here

Huntingtin lowering:
Where are we now?

We have talked with different people to get an update on what is currently happening with Huntington’s disease treatment.

At the moment six pharmaceutical companies are working on developing or testing Huntingtin lowering drugs. Two of them are PTC Therapeutics and uniQure. Hear more about their approaches in the video!

Read more at HDBuzz:

Wave Life Sciences: 
A unique approach

Wave Life Sciences is currently testing a new treatment known as ‘Precision medicine’. The drug only targets the disease-causing protein and leaves the healthy protein alone – a completely unique approach. Read more.

Subtitles:

Results of the first Huntingtin Lowering Drug Trial

Listen to Sarah Tabrizi’s talk at the EHDN Plenary Meeting.

In this lecture, Trabrizi walk us through Huntingtin Lowering and the results of the first Huntingtin Lowering drug trial – which looks very promising!

So what was great about it?

1) It was the first Huntingtin lowering trial in humans; 2) The results showed that the drug was safe and well-tolerated; 3) It showed that a drug – for the very first time – lowered the level of the disease-causing Huntingtin protein in humans.

What’s Next?

When the groundbreaking results of the first Huntingtin lowering trial was announced, the European Huntington Association travelled to Basel. Here, Astri Arnesen and Svein Olaf Olsen met Roche Pharmaceuticals. Roche is currently conducting a Huntingtin lowering trial.

Watch a interview about the trip with EHA’s president Astri Arnesen. 

What is Huntingtin Lowering?

Prof. Sarah Tabrizi managed the Huntingtin Lowering trial, IONIS-HTTRx, that showed promising results in 2017. A few years ago we sat down and talked with her about Huntingtin lowering. At that time the IONIS-HTTRx trial in humans was halfway through and the groundbreaking results was not yet known.

Here is a interview with Sarah Tabrizi, first published in Spring 2016 issue of Enroll! 

What is… Huntington research?

How is research conducted? And when researchers talk about a “Phase I clinical trial” – what are they talking about? 

Research is often carried out in four steps: 1) Discovery; 2) Pre-clinical phase; 3) Clinical trial and 4) Approval. A clinal trial is a trial conducted with humans. If the pre-clinical trial (study with animals) shows that the drug is safe, another safety testing is done with people. Following safety testing, the efficacy of the drug gets tested. This is done in three phases: Phase I, Phase II and Phase III. Learn more.

What is… Enroll-HD?

Enroll-HD is a worldwide observational study for Huntington’s disease families. It monitors how the disease appears and changes over time in different people. It is in other words a prospective observational study, meaning it tracks people over time, rather than asking them to recall how their symptoms have changed.

It is also an important platform for other studies, where researchers can use the data collected by Enroll-HD. Learn more.

Taking part in research

During our conference in Sofia we sat down and talked with Dr. Ralf Reilmann. Ralf is neurologist and the founder of George Huntington Institute in Münster. He is involved in many Huntington trials in Europe.

Hear Ralf talk about the importance of participating in research and Enroll-HD.

Hope for the future

Is there a reason to have hope? According to Prof. Bernhard Landwehrmeyer the answer is: Yes

Bernhard is a professor of neurology at Ulm University. He was instrumental in founding EHDN in 2004 and has served as principal investigator in several Huntington’s disease trials. Bernhard is the principal investigator of the Enroll-HD platform, a  longitudinal observational study on Huntington’s disease.

New variant of Juvenile Huntington’s Disease discovered

The findings indicate that JHD should be separated into two distinct categories, which in turn may be treated differently. Children with a long mutation length shows a faster rate of disease progression compared to adults and children with a shorter length.

– Our study identifies the most aggressive juvenile-pediatric variant that affects children, Dr. Ferdinando Squitieri states.

This important finding may open the door to new therapeutic strategies for ‘attacking’ this rare variant of Huntington’s Disease.

Read more here. 

EHDN Plenary Meeting
World’s largest Huntington conference

Every second year in September EHDN hosts one of the world’s largest conferences dedicated solely to Huntington’s disease. The 2018 EHDN plenary meeting took place September 14th – 16th in the Austria Center Vienna. Here’s a video from the inspiring meeting!

*The European Huntington’s Disease Network (EHDN) is a non-profit research network committed to advance research, clinical trials and improve clinical care in Huntington’s Disease

Postcard from Palm Springs

2019

CHDI Foundation is a science management organization devoted to Huntington’s disease. Their mission is to develop drugs that will slow the progression of the disease.

Every year the foundation holds a conference, where the latest Huntington research news is presented. 

Press the ‘CC’ button for subtitles

2018

Here is the postcard from the Therapeutics Conferences at Malta and Palm Springs. Get updated on the latest trials, HD-COPE and HDYO.

Press the ‘CC’ button for subtitles

2016

In this video ‘Postcard from Palm Springs 2016’, HD family advocate and former NBC reporter Charles Sabine presents highlights from CHDI’s 11th Annual Disease Therapeautics Conference, a Forum for Drug Discovery and Development which ran from February 22nd to 25th 2016 in Palm Springs California. The message is overwhelmingly positive; a ‘new age of hope is dawning’.

Here you can find the video subtitled in Greek, Polish, Russian, Italian, French, Arabic, German, Spanish, Romanian, Finnish and Dutch.