An innovative therapeutic strategy for reducing the levels of toxic protein fragments associated with Huntington's disease uses a new approach called exon skipping to remove the disease-causing component of the essential protein, huntingtin. Proof of concept using antisense oligonucleotides to "skip over" the specific exon in a mouse model of Huntington's disease is reported in an article in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article, part of a special focus issue on exon skipping, is available on the Nucleic Acid Therapeutics website.
Melvin Evers et al., Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands, describe the successful use of antisense oligonucleotides to target the mutated exon that causes Huntington's disease in the article "Preventing Formation of Toxic N-Terminal Huntingtin Fragments Through Antisense Oligonucleotide-Mediated Protein Modification."
"No field of therapeutic development is moving faster, with more imminent clinical translation than the nucleic acid based treatment of central nervous system conditions," says Executive Editor Graham C. Parker, PhD, The Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI. "The novel therapeutic strategy outlined in Evers et al. gives us a proof of concept of how a previously intractable condition can be treated by modifying rather than removing the toxic protein."