Studies are focused on:
* Developing a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease and identifying pathways which could be possible targets for disease-modifying intervention.9
* Developing sensitive biomarkers to monitor the disease's course and measure the effects of modifying treatments. The two major international studies are Track-HD10 and Predict-HD.11
* Identifying treatments to alter the disease's course. Previous trials of compounds have not demonstrated efficacy.12 A multicentre phase III trial of latrepirdine concluded in April 2011 but no significant improvements were identified (www.euro-hd.net/html/projects/horizon).
* However, promising interventions are in the pipeline, and a European phase 1b trial of a compound known as SEN0014196 is currently recruiting (www.paddingtonproject.eu).
* An evidence-based care map is available on the Map of Medicine website: http://eng.mapofmedicine.com/evidence/map/ huntington_s_disease1.html
* A Cochrane review of medical treatment: Mestre T, Ferreira J, Coelho MM et al. Therapeutic interventions for symptomatic treatment in Huntington's disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009; 3: CD006456
* Bates G, Harper P, Jones L (eds). Huntington's Disease (third edition). Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002.
* A Physician's Guide to the Management of Huntington's Disease can be downloaded, free of charge, via the Huntington's Disease Association website: www.hda.org.uk/download/professionals/ HD-Management-Physicians-Guide.doc
* Huntington's disease research news: www.HDBuzz.net
Contributed by Rachel Taylor, nurse consultant, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Professor Sarah Tabrizi, professor of neurology, UCL Institute of Neurology.