South East Wales

Stem cell transplant to tackle Huntington's disease

Haydn Ellis Building Image copyright Google
Image caption Cardiff University's Brain Unit will carry out the procedure

People with the degenerative disorder Huntington's disease could receive pioneering treatment with stem cells to try to slow development of symptoms.

Cardiff University plans to begin the first transplants at a specialist brain centre by the end of the year.

A new procedure will be used to administer the transplant, which will be evaluated for effectiveness by the following spring.

Huntington's is caused by a single faulty gene and is currently incurable.

William Gray, the Brain Repair and Intracranial Neurotherapeutics (Brain) Unit's professor of functional neuroscience, said: "The procedure marks a next stage in our battle to combat the debilitating effects of this currently incurable disorder.

"Whilst the measurability of the surgery's success may not be clear-cut for more than a year post-transplantation, we are hopeful the procedure could significantly contribute to the long-term development of therapies for thousands of people living with Huntington's disease."

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