Scientists Find a New Way to Reverse Symptoms of Fragile X

Scientists Find a New Way to Reverse Symptoms of Fragile X

FRAXA Investigator and MIT Professor Mark Bear and his colleagues have identified a valuable new target for Fragile X therapeutics: GSK3 alpha. Several FRAXA research teams previously identified GSK3 beta as a treatment target for Fragile X. The catch is that, so far, GSK3 beta inhibitors have proven too toxic for regular use. Dr. Bear’s new discovery opens up the possibility of developing more selective compounds with less toxicity and fewer side effects. Interestingly, lithium inhibits both GSK3 versions – alpha and beta.

Bear lab (Bear 3rd from left, McCamphill on right)Read more

Meet Anthony

Meet Anthony

Meet #FriendofFRAXA Anthony! If you would like to nominate someone as a #FriendofFRAXA, we welcome all who have been touched by Fragile X, including friends, grandparents, siblings, professionals and companions alike to become a #FriendofFRAXA with the goal of putting a face to Fragile X for those who may not know someone directly.

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Cholesterol-Dependent Changes in Fragile X Astrocytes

Cholesterol-Dependent Changes in Fragile X Astrocytes

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded $45,000 to Dr. Maija Castrén, of the University of Helsinki, Finland. Dr. Castren is working with Dr. Iryna Ethell, at the University of California at Riverside, to uncover mechanisms behind beneficial effects of lovastatin and cholesterol-dependent changes seen in the Fragile X brain.

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We’re All In This Together, One Day At A Time.

We’re All In This Together, One Day At A Time.

As many of you know, FRAXA’s mission is to find effective treatment options and ultimately a cure for Fragile X. Right now though, we know that we have to pivot. The Fragile X community has always been the center of our mission and today, there are other ways we can be helpful. We would like to host virtual gatherings that will benefit the Fragile X community and help us all feel connected.

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Ketogenic Diet Eases Symptoms in Fragile X Male Mice

Ketogenic Diet Eases Symptoms in Fragile X Male Mice

The Westmark laboratory continues to study sleep and rest-activity cycles in Fragile X mice as a potential outcome measure that correlates between preclinical and clinical research. The analysis of sleep EEG in the mice has proven more labor intensive than they anticipated, but the team is collaborating with Dr. Rama Maganti’s laboratory at UW-Madison on the development of computer scrips to speed up the analysis.

Fragile X Researcher, Cara Westmark, PhDRead more

Drug Repurposing for Rare Disease and the Future of Health – The Genetics Podcast

Drug Repurposing for Rare Disease and the Future of Health – The Genetics Podcast

In this double-bill episode of The Genetics Podcast, Dr. Patrick Short talks to two key rare disease researchers in the field: Dr. Bruce Bloom, CCO of Healx, and Dr. Mike Tranfaglia, CSO of FRAXA. Both draw on their wide-ranging personal and professional experiences to discuss the successes and opportunities of drug repurposing, the power of using machine learning, and the work they’ve been doing to aid in finding effective treatments for Fragile X.

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fNIRS to Measure Treatment Response in Young Children with Fragile X

fNIRS to Measure Treatment Response in Young Children with Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $90,000 research grant to Dr. Craig Erickson and Dr. Elizabeth Smith at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to test functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), in children who have Fragile X syndrome. fNIRS is safe, non-invasive, and easily-tolerated. It uses light sources and sensors on the scalp to build a heat map of the brain in action.

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Results Reported: Using EEG Responses to Sound for Fragile X Drug Discovery

Results Reported: Using EEG Responses to Sound for Fragile X Drug Discovery

Jonathan Lovelace, a FRAXA funded Postdoc at UC Riverside, has made some exciting EEG findings over the past few years studying auditory hypersensitivity in mice and therapeutic drug treatments. A big obstacle in FXS research has been establishing reliable, unbiased, and translation relevant biomarkers that can be used to determine the effectiveness of therapies. One of the most important discoveries they have made is the striking similarity in EEG biomarkers between mice and humans.

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Should You Participate in a Fragile X Clinical Trial?

Should You Participate in a Fragile X Clinical Trial?

A Fragile X clinical trial of a new PDE4D allosteric inhibitor from Tetra Therapeutics is nearly complete. Right now there are 3 remaining spots open to males 18-45 years of age with Fragile X syndrome. Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is leading this trial. The drug being studied has a unique mechanism of action that might improve cognitive and memory function.  

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Job Listing: Neurodevelopmental Disorders Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Job Listing: Neurodevelopmental Disorders Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (K-CART) and Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas currently are seeking one postdoctoral fellow interested in advancing their research skills and progressing towards a career as an independent, externally funded investigator studying autism spectrum (ASD) or related neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., Fragile X syndrome).

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Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome in a Mouse Model of Fragile X

Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome in a Mouse Model of Fragile X

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. McCullagh and Dr. Achem Klug at the University of Colorado investigated whether auditory neural circuits are altered in Fragile X mice. They saw minor differences in these mice compared to B6 (control) mice in several measures of auditory acuity. Fmr1 mice had increased latency to the startle response for almost all conditions compared to B6 mice, suggesting altered timing to acoustic cues. These experiments show that, consistent with patient reports and anatomical/physiological data, the auditory system is altered in a mouse model of FXS, though with some potential compensation leading to a subtle behavioral impact.

Elizabeth MCullough and Achim KlugRead more

Meet Will!

Meet Will!

Meet #FriendofFRAXA Will! If you would like to nominate someone as a #FriendofFRAXA, we welcome all who have been touched by Fragile X, including friends, grandparents, siblings, professionals and companions alike to become a #FriendofFRAXA with the goal of putting a face to Fragile X for those who may not know someone directly.

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Meet Caleb!

Meet Caleb!

Meet #FriendofFRAXA Caleb! If you would like to nominate someone as a #FriendofFRAXA, we welcome all who have been touched by Fragile X, including friends, grandparents, siblings, professionals and companions alike to become a #FriendofFRAXA with the goal of putting a face to Fragile X for those who may not know someone directly.

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Drug Tolerance is Likely Culprit Behind the Failure of MGluR5 Clinical Trials

Drug Tolerance is Likely Culprit Behind the Failure of MGluR5 Clinical Trials

We have long suspected that the clinical trials of mGluR5 blockers from Novartis and Roche failed because the drug triggered tolerance, losing effect over time. With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. Patrick McCamphill, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT lab of Dr. Mark Bear, is investigating. He does indeed find tolerance, and now he is looking for ways to overcome it.

Bear lab (Bear 3rd from left, McCamphill on right)Read more