This isn’t from the Black lab, but colleagues here at Wash.U. have used cells from people with Huntington disease (HD) to discover abnormally high levels of a messenger RNA. That mRNA decreases autophagy–a cell’s ability to clean up its insides–and that hastens the death of the cell. The authors went on to show that they could reduce the levels of this poisonous process in two ways, keeping the cells alive much longer.
Moving this to testing a treatment in human patients will take a while, but this is a discovery that may lead to a novel disease-modifying treatment of HD.