Research studies in recent years have shown that people with Huntington’s Disease and related hereditary CAG repeat disorders have lower rates of cancer than the general population. We’re not sure why that’s the case, but some scientists suspected that the HD gene and its toxic RNA message might actually have some cancer-fighting power. In a recent publication, a team at Northwestern University reported that they attacked cancer cells using bits of the repeating CAG section of huntingtin. This successfully slowed the growth of tumor cells in dishes and in mice. This is a very cool idea, but be aware that recent press releases have upped the hype: we’re not about to start giving people HD to cure their cancer. Treating one disease through the gene that causes another is a tricky business requiring a LOT more research.  Nevertheless, it’s really exciting when research into Huntington’s Disease provides new insights for a broader realm of medicine.

Participate in a Research Survey

HDSA supports young scientists and medical professionals who have designed research surveys about HD by sharing links to their university-approved studies on our website. We’re featuring two studies this week:

Genetic testing and Social Media

Kaitlyn Riley, a Genetic Counseling student at Virginia Commonwealth University, is studying whether people use social media to share their genetic test results for different conditions (including HD). She wishes to learn whether people may benefit from social media use when discussing test results. This research is important for organizations like HDSA because it can inform us about how best to support individuals and families as they navigate genetic testing in the age of the internet.

Medical Coverage for People with Disabilities

The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is looking for adults with disabilities to complete an online survey about getting and using health insurance and health care services. The goal is to understand how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be affecting your life. Whether you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance, your responses will help the HD community to have a voice in the national dialogue about medical coverage.