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Disappointing Clinical Test Failure of Drugs to Treat Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease is an incurable genetic condition that can lead to serious mental disability. Finding a cure for this condition has been a focus for researchers, but recently those efforts met with devastating failure.

Pharmaceutical companies Roche and Wave Life Sciences in Massachusetts have announced a halt to the clinical trials that they were undertaking for new treatments for Huntington’s disease.  The treatments focused on the effect of antisense oligonucleotides, and promised game-changing therapies for Huntington’s disease. These were supposed to be gene – targeting treatments for the disease, and much expectation built up around the research by Roche and Wave Life Sciences.

Huntington’s disease is a degenerative brain disease that is genetic in nature and causes significant damage to the brain cells. The condition results in a marked decline in the patient’s physical and mental abilities.  Smptoms typically show up during the individual’s peak productive age, between the ages of 30 and 50.  This means that the condition results in severe financial stress for the patient and the family. Even younger adults and young children have been known to suffer from Huntington’s disease.

Symptoms of Huntington’s disease can include memory loss, loss of concentration, imbalanced gait, sudden involuntary movements, trouble walking, and changes in personality.  There may be serious mood swings, and the individual may suffer from unclear speech. All of these symptoms can make it impossible for the person to work full – time and earn a living. Typically, symptoms worsen slowly over a couple of decades. This is a fatal condition with no cure.

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