Despite the identification of the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease (HD) over 20 years ago, to date, there are no effective treatments available to patients to modify disease progression. While the identification of the huntingtin gene led to an incredible number of useful animal models to help us better understand HD biology, the most physiologically relevant scientific observations that will guide the research community in the hunt for effective therapies for HD will be those that are recorded in HD patients. As a result, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has adopted a patient-centric research strategy to enable the critical HD projects to push the field closer to meeting our goal of identifying effective therapies to slow the progression or onset of HD. The HD Human Biology Project is the cornerstone of this strategy. The Human Biology Project was launched in 2013 with the goal of fostering innovative research at the HDSA Centers of Excellence to better understanding the biology of Huntington’s disease as it occurs in humans. To date, HDSA has committed $2.2 million dollars to support this program. Today, HDSA is proud to announce the 2017 request for new proposals for the Human Biology Project.
HDSA no longer requires that funded research proposals have a formal collaboration with one of HDSA’s 41 Centers of Excellence. Applicants may propose to work with any HD clinic around the world. However, if possible, HDSA encourages applicants to consider the HDSA Centers of Excellence as a potential collaborator for their research.
” In addition to Supporting a high risk project to see whether our basic research on mouse models can be translated into a clinical context, funding through HDSA’s HD human biology project has helped me to form important collaborations with experts in the Huntington’s disease field. This is expanding my knowledge and expertise in an important area of research I intend to pursue as an independent investigator.”
“Our work in mouse models of Huntington’s disease has shown dysregulation of the immune system to be one of the earliest events in Huntington’s disease. With the help of the HDSA, we are now trying to determine if this occurs in human patients and, if so, whether it can be used to develop powerful biomarker tools and even potential therapies.”
– Daniel Wilton, Ph.D./Children’s Hospital of Boston
2014 HD Human Biology Project Recipient/ Mentor: Beth Stevens, Ph.D.