Centre for Huntington Disease

The Centre for Huntington Disease (CHD) has been serving patients and families since 1983. A multidisciplinary team of geneticists, neurologists, psychiatrists, and a genetic counselor work together to offer the very best care possible to individuals affected with Huntington’s Disease.

For more information please visit the CHD website

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is an inherited and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects about one in 10,000 Canadians, for which there is presently no cure. It has been called “one of the worst afflictions known to man”, the relentless symptoms of this disease often begins at around age 40 and progresses until death. While symptoms vary individually, common traits include loss of motor control, slurred speech, and severe disturbances in cognition and emotional well-being.

CMMT researchers have made tremendous strides in finding new ways to fight this disease. In 1999, Dr. Hayden and his laboratory at the CMMT were the first to develop a mouse model for Huntington’s Disease, which displays the behaviours similar to the human version of the disease. With over a decade of research dedicated to the illness and numerous discoveries, CMMT has truly become a leader in Huntington’s Disease research in Canada, firmly committed to finding a cure.

One major breakthrough that could pave the way towards a cure for Huntington’s Disease was discovered here at CMMT, when the laboratories of Drs. Hayden and Leavitt provided compelling evidence that the caspase-6 cleavage of the diseased, mutant Huntingtin protein is crucial in the pathogenesis of Huntington’s Disease.

Mice expressing mutant Huntingtin that resists caspase-6 cleavage maintain normal neuronal function and do not develop cognitive or neurological abnormalities or any evidence of neurodegeneration. This represents the first intervention in any animal model for HD to prevent motor, cognitive and neuropathological features of the illness, and could lay the groundwork for an effective approach to therapy for the disease.

We welcome referrals for consultation related to Huntington Disease from all physicians. Communication with the family doctor is essential. Any recommended changes in medications or any suggested investigations will be communicated to the family doctor to maintain their role as the primary care provider.

Please click here to download the CHD referral form. (Adobe Acrobat Document)

The HD Medical Clinic is held every Tuesday for appointments with neurologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Patients and family members meet with members of the team to assist the family physician with the best possible care. In addition, the clinic also assesses patients for entry in clinical trials.

The Predictive Testing clinic is held every Wednesday with a geneticist and genetic counsellor.

Referral is necessary for appointment booking in clinics. Please contact Sandy at T: 604.822.7366 F: 604.822.7970 or chdclinics@cmmt.ubc.ca for appointment bookings or for more information.