Therapies targeting DNA and RNA in Huntington's disease

Lancet Neurol. 2017 Oct;16(10):837-847. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30280-6. Epub 2017 Sep 12.


No disease-slowing treatment exists for Huntington's disease, but its monogenic inheritance makes it an appealing candidate for the development of therapies targeting processes close to its genetic cause. Huntington's disease is caused by CAG repeat expansions in the HTT gene, which encodes the huntingtin protein; development of therapies to target HTT transcription and the translation of its mRNA is therefore an area of intense investigation. Huntingtin-lowering strategies include antisense oligonucleotides and RNA interference targeting mRNA, and zinc finger transcriptional repressors and CRISPR-Cas9 methods aiming to reduce transcription by targeting DNA. An intrathecally delivered antisense oligonucleotide that aims to lower huntingtin is now well into its first human clinical trial, with other antisense oligonucleotides expected to enter trials in the next 1-2 years and virally delivered RNA interference and zinc finger transcriptional repressors in advanced testing in animal models. Recent advances in the design and delivery of therapies to target HTT RNA and DNA are expected to improve their efficacy, safety, tolerability, and duration of effect in future studies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • DNA*
  • Humans
  • Huntingtin Protein*
  • Huntington Disease / therapy*
  • RNA*


  • Huntingtin Protein
  • RNA
  • DNA