BOCA RATON, Fla. - An estimated 30,000 people in the United States are living with Huntington's disease, an incurable inherited genetic disorder that affects the brain, leading to loss of mental function and physical control.
"Huntington's disease is a highly complex genetic, neurological disorder that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to waste away," said Dr. Jianning Wei, associate profession of biomedical science at the Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University.
Wei has been awarded a $428,694 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the molecular and physiological functions of a protein responsible for cell death in Huntington's patients.
"We will be using a combination of biochemical, genetic and molecular approaches to study the pathways in cells lines and rodent models of the disease with the hopes of shedding light on understanding the physiological aspects that cause this fatal disease," said Wei.
In the future, investigators will also be look at postmortem brain samples from Huntington's patients.
"Receiving this important grand from the NIH will help me and my colleagues to continue our research on finding and understanding the factors that are responsible for the devastating effects of Huntington's disease. "Developing new therapies and treatments is critical in combating this disease because there is nothing currently available to delay or stop it's progression."
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first and only drug, treat the movement disorders associated with the disease but there is no drug shown to stops it's progression.
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