Huntington’s community rallies in Irvine, celebrates a scientific anniversary

The local high school sent its full cheerleading squad to cheer on the Huntington’s disease advocates at the beginning of the walk and, here, to congratulate them as they finished the circuit.

Patients with Huntington’s Disease, their families and friends, and families and friends of patients who had already lost the battle with the deadly disease came together in Irvine Saturday for a walk to raise funds for research and a day of camaraderie pegged to the slogan on their T shirts: Team Hope.

CIRM grantee Leslie Thompson of UC Irvine gave a high note in discussing some of the progress in her lab on understanding the disease. She was part of the consortium of research teams that published a paper earlier this year on using reprogrammed, or iPS, cells made from the skin of Huntington’s patients as a model to successfully mimic the disease in the lab. She is now using those cells to develop screening assays that could be used to test potential therapies. Here’s Thompson giving a short description of this project:

Thompson noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of finding the mutant Huntington gene. Much of the consortium that made that discovery is still working together and took part in the research that created the iPS cell lines. Thompson herself was a post doctoral fellow on that team two decades ago.

There’s more information about CIRM’s funding for Huntington’s disease research on our Huntington’s disease fact sheet.

D.G.

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