The Huntington's Disease community has been a patient one in regards to waiting for a treatment or a cure, but one by one their patience has been running out. Mainly, this is due to too many news articles telling us of the possibility of a treatment, or going so far as to lead people to believe that a cure may be on the horizon. The truth is that we are years away from a cure or even a viable treatment.
Some voices from within our community have long asked why existing drugs couldn't be repurposed for use with HD that may have a positive effect on not only symptoms but that may even slow progress of this dreaded disease. These voices were often ignored. But they may be able to give themselves a pat on the back and tell us all "I told you so".
Researchers at the University of Dundee in Scotland along with their counterparts at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, both in Germany. have found that the drug Metformin may have therapeutic benefits for those recently diagnosed. They say that more studies need to be done to see if it will help with those in later stages however.
Metformin is marketed under the trade name Glucophage among others, and is the first-line medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, particularly in people who are overweight. It is also used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.
According to The National, researchers found that the drug helped to restore brain activity patterns and reduce erratic behaviour in mice, by controlling the Huntingtin protein.
Dr Ros Langston on the University Dundee school of Medicine, and co-author of the study told The National, “This is a really important development as there are currently no effective treatments for Huntington’s patients. Metformin is already in the public domain and its limited side effects are already known, meaning that further studies should not take as long as those for new drugs. This means that in terms of developing therapeutic treatment for people who may have Huntington’s in their family, this is potentially very exciting news, ”