Researchers say they’ve identified potential markers for the progression of the deadly neurodegenerative disorder Huntington’s disease.
“Since these changes can be seen at the earliest stages of the disease, they may be particularly helpful in evaluating neuroprotective strategies that could be applied before symptoms develop,” researcher Dr. Dimitri Krainc, of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders in Boston, said in a prepared statement.
After conducting a gene survey of Huntington’s patients, Krainc’s team identified a set of genes expressed at higher levels in the blood of patients than in people without the disease. In fact, the expression of these genes in the blood increased as HD patients progressed from the asymptomatic to symptomatic stage.
“These biomarkers may be valuable in monitoring patients’ response to experimental treatments,” Krainc said.
Further research may identify other combinations of marker genes that reflect various stages of HD and predict clinical effects of new experimental treatments.