GlaxoSmithKline has signed another rare disorders pact with the University of Dundee, this time focusing on Huntington's disease.
The project is based on the findings of the university's Susann Schweiger who has discovered a mechanism that controls production of the disease-causing protein involved in Huntington’s. The latter is an hereditary neurological disorder caused by a single gene defect, which can lead to some patients suffering from memory problems, anxiety and depression. However, all patients will eventually develop severe movement problems, there is currently no cure and patients die within 10-15 years of onset.
GSK researchers will work with Prof Schweiger's team and a member of the latter, Jeremy Lambert said, "this is a truly interdisciplinary effort and one which we are uniquely placed to tackle in Dundee." He added that "it is extremely heartening" to see GSK focus on an orphan disease (Huntington's affects one in 5,000 people) and "their involvement greatly increases the chance of developing a treatment for this devastating disease". Cath Stanley, Chief Executive of the Huntington's Disease Association, added that the collaboration is "an exciting step forward which will offer much-needed hope".
In June this year, the university and GSK set up a collaboration examining another orphan disease, recessive dystrophic epidermylosis bullosa, a rare disease of the skin and mucosal linings.