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UCL Huntington's Disease Centre Opens

24 April 2017

UCL Huntingtons Disease Centre Opens

The UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre, based at the UCL Institute of Neurology, was officially opened by UCL President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur on the 1 March. Professor Michael Arthur was delighted to welcome Amanda Staveley, a Huntington’s disease (HD) family member and businesswoman, to cut the ribbon at the event. The Centre brings together expertise from many disciplines and is uniquely placed worldwide to translate basic biological insights into first-in-human studies in the disease.

The Centre will look to answer important questions of early diagnosis and understanding of the Huntington’s disease biology which will help to refine and redefine it, preparing for precision medicine and driving therapeutic innovation.

The Centre will be led by Professor Sarah Tabrizi FMedSci and co-directed by Professor Gill Bates FRS, both of whom have already made considerable contributions to every aspect of HD research from gene identification, underlying molecular mechanisms, to animal modelling, therapeutic target validation and experimental medicine. The causes of the harmful processes associated with HD are also found in more common neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, so discoveries into these processes could unlock a huge number of benefits for patients worldwide. Professor Tabrizi made a keynote speech on the potential impact of these discoveries at the Google Zeitgeist event in May 2016. You can watch a video of the speech here: https://www.zeitgeistminds.com/talk/6067962410696704/sarah-tabrizi-the-human-revolution-sarah-tabrizi

“Our combined research programmes underpin all aspects of the translational pipeline, and will enable the Centre to make a significant contribution to the development of treatments for HD".  Professor Gill Bates, Co-Director of UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre.

The Centre will be linked with the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC), enabling them to conduct first-in-man and proof-of-concept studies of patients prior to initiating larger phase 2 and 3 trials. It is this translational research approach that will underpin the UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre’s overarching aim to develop and test effective therapies for HD, and to set the ground work to eventually prevent the disease occurring completely.

“The ability to collaborate with the LWENC is crucial to bringing effective treatments from our research laboratories to patients. This bench-to-bedside research approach will underpin our aim to develop and test effective therapies for HD that prevent the clinical disease occurring. We believe we are pivotally placed to be able to translate effective therapies to patients affected by this terrible disease”. Professor Sarah Tabrizi, Director of UCL’s Huntington’s Disease Centre.