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Cancer drugs may thwart Huntington's

Drugs developed to fight cancer could also be effective against Huntington's disease and several related neurodegenerative conditions, according to a new study of flies.

These brain illnesses are known as polygutamine disorders because in each, a mutated gene translates into proteins with an overabundance of the amino acid glutamine (SN: 6/10/95, p. 360). Seeking to explain how different proteins cause these brain disorders, scientists have searched for molecules whose functions might be altered by glutamine-rich proteins.

This molecular hunt is turning up suspects. Earlier this year, for example, a group reported that Htt, the mutant protein encoded by the Huntington's disease gene, binds to a protein called CBP (SN: 4/28/01, p. 271: Huntington's protein may be kidnapper).

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