A Huntington’s Disease Centre has been established at University College London and will officially open in March 2017. It is directed by Professor Sarah Tabrizi and co-directed by Professor Gillian Bates, who has recently been recruited to UCL. Professor Tabrizi and Professor Bates will be working alongside Dr Ed Wild, a Principal Investigator in the Centre with a research group supported by an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship and CHDI Foundation.
The new UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre is uniquely placed world-wide to translate mechanistic insights to ‘first in human’ studies, led by Professors Tabrizi and Bates who together are world leaders in bench-to-bedside HD research. Within a single purpose-built facility, the Centre will bring together expertise from many disciplines, combining sophisticated cell-based systems, animal work, translational research and clinical trials. The Centre will answer important questions of early diagnosis and mechanistic understanding which will help refine and redefine disease, preparing for precision medicine and driving therapeutic innovation. Linking with the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC), the HD Centre is able to conduct small proof-of-concept studies in patients prior to initiating larger phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, including novel huntingtin-lowering trials. In this way we anticipate that our unparalled team of experts will spearhead a new era of disease-modifying therapeutics for HD.
The Huntington’s Disease Research Centre logo depicts a human figure composed from two intertwining strands, evoking the DNA we inherit from each parent. The figure is leaping forwards – a reference to the dance-like involuntary movements seen in people with Huntington’s disease – into a hope-filled future free from the disease.