I'm always happy to read about advances in the search for a cure for Huntington's Disease, but this struck me as awful news: Scientists have inserted the defective gene into monkeys.
It's bad enough humans have to suffer this disease. Now another species will suffer the same incapacitation. One of the monkeys who was altered is already showing signs of HD at 10 months. While humans are in many ways genetically identical to monkeys (the percentage of similarity varies with the species) we are not identical, nor do we learn in the same way or share cognitive traits with monkeys. Therefore, drug trials on monkeys will be of little use, except for the scientists who were offered grant money to alter rhesus monkey genes.
I have a better idea. Test drugs in humans who already suffer from HD. Currently there is a paucity of HD drug trials in humans, all of which involve drugs already approved for human use for some other ailment. Patients I know are clamoring to participate in drug trials.
I myself am participating in trials to determine the earliest signs of Huntington's, which hopefully will help scientists learn to quickly identify which drugs work to postpone the onset, or which lifestyle changes will affect the age of onset. (I'm a big believer in affecting the onset through lifestyle changes, primarily exercise and stress reduction.)
If you'd like to learn more about alternatives to animal testing for human diseases, check out the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing.