A New Drug for Huntington’s and a Modest Proposal

Some progress in mitigating a devastating genetic disease

“We recently tested a new drug, called RG6042, that appears to be safe from our first phase-one trial and which reduces levels of the toxic protein that builds up in patients’ brain cells and is believed to trigger the disease,” says Huntington’s expert Professor Sarah Tabrizi of University College London. “It’s a great step forward.”

Medicynical note: If the trial shows the drug to be effective in delaying or mitigating Huntington’s, there is a compelling public interest that it be freely available to those at risk of this uniformly disabling ultimately fatal disease. The cost, emotional and financial, of this disease is incalculable. As such the drug patent and right to produce and market should be publicly owned and the drug provided at a nominal cost to all potential (gene positive) people. The devil of course is in the details and is of course easier to solve, financially and ethically, in the context of nation health schemes.

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