Arches. Photo by Daniel Chia
HOPES: Huntington's Outreach Project for Education, at Stanford
Aug
21
2012

Lithium

Jun
26
2011

About Glutamate Toxicity

Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain. It is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells, and under normal conditions it plays an important role in learning and memory. There are two general ways, however, that glutamate can actually be damaging to nerve cells and the brain [...]

Jun
29
2010

Memantine

Drug Summary: Memantine is an anti-glutamate and energy-buffering drug. As an NMDA antagonist, memantine prevents the neurotransmitter glutamate from leading to nerve cell degeneration by inhibiting glutamate´s binding to the receptor. Memantine has been clinically used to treat dementia and Alzheimer´s disease. Current research on its effects in other diseases of the central nervous system [...]

Jun
29
2010

Lamotrigine

Drug Summary: Lamotrigine belongs to a group of medications called anticonvulsants, which are used to control seizure disorders. Lamotrigine acts on the central nervous system to control the number and severity of seizures. It is thought to suppress the activity of certain parts of the brain and the abnormal firing of nerve cells that cause seizures. In psychiatry, lamotrigine may be used as a mood stabilizer. In the laboratory, researchers have found that lamotrigine also inhibits release of the neurotransmitter glutamate. This is important because glutamate may play a role in nerve cell degeneration in the brains of people with HD, so reducing the amount of glutamate released makes lamotrigine a potential treatment for HD.

Jun
29
2010

Riluzole

Update: Riluzole is no longer considered to be a promising avenue of research; it failed a phase III clinical trial in 2007. The trial ran for 3 years and included 537 adult HD patients, who were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (receiving 50 mg of riluzole twice a day) or the control group (which received a placebo instead). The 379 patients who completed the study were measured with the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS), a test commonly used in clinical trials to measures factors such as motor control, independence, and mental function. The scientists performing the study concluded that riluzole has no benefit for the treatment of HD, as it was not significantly better than the placebo; it does not slow the progression of HD, nor does it improve symptoms.

Jun
29
2010

Remacemide

Drug Summary: Remacemide (RMC) is a drug that HD researchers hope can alleviate glutamate toxicity in the brains of HD patients. Remacemide is an NMDA antagonist – it inhibits the binding of glutamate to NMDA receptors, preventing glutamate from exerting its toxic effects on the nerve cell. Although, it has been shown to transiently improve [...]

Jun
26
2010

Dimebon (Latrepirdine)

Update: According to a press release on 4/11/11, dimebon did NOT pass the Horizon trial and is not effective in treating HD. There was no statistically significant difference in symptoms between the experimental (received dimebon) and placebo (did not receive dimebon) groups. According to the president and chief executive officer of Medivation, development of dimebon in HD will be discontinued. However, dimebon trials for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease will continue.