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Biomarker for Huntington’s disease identified

Measures of gene activity indicate illness progression, treatment effectiveness

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2:25pm, October 4, 2011

Scientists on the trail of treatments for Huntington’s disease may have found a way to track their success. A new study reports that patients with Huntington’s disease have higher levels of expression of a gene called H2AFY in their blood compared with healthy people. What’s more, patients treated with a drug that slows the effects of the disease had reduced levels of H2AFY activity compared with people given a placebo.

The results suggest that H2AFY could serve as a tool for monitoring the progression of the disease and an indicator of whether prospective treatments are working, researchers report online October 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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