Measures of gene activity indicate illness progression, treatment effectiveness
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.
“Biomarker identification for Huntington’s disease is critically important for clinical trials,” says Leslie Thompson, director of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at the University of California, Irvine, who was not in