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Huntington's disease

mri scans and hand with pen

We are one of the leading centres in the UK for research into Huntington's disease.

Bringing together leading clinicians and academics from across Wales enables us to conduct world-class research and provide specialist clinical advice and care.

What is Huntington's disease?

Huntington's disease is an inherited condition that damages nerve cells in the brain.

It is a degenerative condition, so the damage it does to the brain gets progressively worse over time and can affect movement, cognition (perception, awareness, thinking, judgement) and behaviour.

Our research

Our research is focused on finding therapies for Huntington's disease. We are using two main approaches to do this.

We are investigating cell replacement therapy for Huntington's disease using a multidisciplinary approach that includes behavioural psychology, developmental biology, cell and stem cell biology, genetics and immunology. These therapies may also help people affected by Parkinson's disease and stroke. We are also investigating genetic factors that delay disease onset to highlight biological pathways and networks that can be targeted to delay the disease.

We are also investigating gene variants that modulate the age of onset and progression of Huntington's disease. These give clues about which biological pathways should be targets for drug therapies in the disease. They have revealed that pathways that act to repair damaged DNA are important targets for investigation.

Working with patients and relatives

We also work closely with Huntington's disease patients and their families to improve support and service provision, raise awareness and encourage participation in research.

In particular we aim to help address issues including:

  • Concerns about possible risk
  • Management of people with advanced Huntington's disease
  • Questions about involvement in research

We also run the Wales Huntington's disease Involving People Group, which is made up of people with the disease, their families and carers and works to improve research, communication and training. It is supported by Involving People, an organisation that works to support and encourage patient, service users' and carers' active involvement in health and social care research in Wales.