Fifty friends of FRAXA enjoyed an amazing night at the TD Garden in Boston on March 30. They gathered to watch the Boston Bruins take on the Dallas Stars. It was a great opportunity for us to unite the greater Boston Fragile X community. We were able to convene and thank some of our local families and introduce them to university and biotech scientists who are working to find a cure for Fragile X. The night was made available by a generous donation of the Garden View Room by TD Bank.
We are tremendously grateful to the Millburn United men's soccer team, of Millburn, New Jersey, who held the 2017 Callum Cup on Sunday, July 2, 2017. They were honoring Callum Murphy, son of the team goalkeeper at Millburn United. Together with their friends and families, the team raised over $9000 for Fragile X research! This event was made possibly by co-hosts Andrew Murphy and Nick Dawes. Thank you all! Donors -- Thank you all so much! Kathleen Warnock Sean Mahoney Daniel Losik Martin Leys Alexia Bucciarelli James Padykula Margaret Fox Beth Hopkins James Bayne Eva Lesiak Scott Heiman Brian Levine Vlad Sali Jean-Luc DeguinesRead more
With a $60,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2015 that was renewed in 2016, Dr. Eric Klann of New York University will research biomarkers in fraile X syndrome and how to translate these markers from mouse models to human patients.
FRAXA Research Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for Fragile X syndrome, the leading known inherited cause of intellectual disabilities and autism, has named Dave Bjork to the newly created position of Director of Development.
With a 2015-2016 $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Herve Moine and Dr. Andrea Geoffroy aim to uncover the exact role of FMRP and to test a novel possible means to correct for FMRP absence in the mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.
With a $90,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation from 2015-2016, Dr. Laurie Doering and Dr. Angela Scott at McMasters University studied astrocytes in Fragile X. Astrocytes, brain cells which support neurons, do not transmit signals. Several treatment strategies for Fragile X have been proposed based on correction of “astrocyte phenotypes”.
With $366,100 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation, these investigators at the University of Orleans studied sensory abnormalities in Fragile X mice and test the ability of a class of drugs, BK channel openers, to rescue these abnormalities.
With $375,000 in grants from the FRAXA Research Foundation since 2009, Dr. David Nelson has developed an impressive array of advanced mouse models of Fragile X, at Baylor College of Medicine. These models are available to investigators worldwide on request. This resource has been essential for a broad, rapid distribution of Fragile X and related gene mouse models and has increased the pace of Fragile X research.
With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2015-2016, Dr. Mollie Meffert and Dr. Christina Timmerman at Johns Hopkins University studied groups of small RNAs, known as microRNAs, which are greatly decreased in brain tissue of Fragile X mice vs. normal controls.
With a $90,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Lynne Maquat and Dr. Tatsuaki Kurosaki will investigate nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) in Fragile X. NMD is a “housekeeping” process that cells use to prevent faulty proteins from being made. But there is too much of it in Fragile X syndrome. There are already available drugs that suppress NMD – including caffeine.
With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2016-2018, Dr. Carolyn B. Smith and Dr. Rache Sare at the National Institute of Mental Health investigated the basis of sleep problems in Fragile X syndrome.
Rolling Stone Magazine published a powerful article by award-winning writer, Paul Solotaroff, featuring his son, Luke. Luke is 17 years old and has Fragile X syndrome. What will happen when Luke becomes an adult and no longer has a right to schooling? During his research, Paul visited the Shared Living Collaborative in Merrimac, MA. This is the program where my son, Andy, age 28, works (and plays) during his days. Perhaps it can serve as a model for other programs around the country. Read the article here: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/lukes-best-chance-one-mans-fight-for-his-autistic-son-w431012 Read about Shared Living Collaborative here: https://www.fraxa.org/turning-22-fragile-x-adults/Read more
A new company has launched that will invest tens of millions in reactivating the Fragile X gene. With $55 million in investment funds, Fulcrum Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA, aim to develop small molecules to control gene expression. These potential new treatments would be based on controlling genetic on- and off-switches of disease genes. Fulcrum will start with two diseases: Fragile X syndrome and a rare form of muscular dystrophy. FRAXA is funding one of the founding scientists, Jeannie Lee, MD, PhD, of Harvard University, and has been working with others on the new Fulcrum team. In fact, Dr. Lee will be our speaker at the FRAXA Fall Fling fundraiser this September 30, in Cambridge, Mass. Together, with your support and with support from new companies like Fulcrum, with support from FRAXA’s Nobel Laureate-laden Scientific Advisory Board and passionate Board of Directors, we are united more than ever in finding a cure for Fragile X. More About Fulcrum http://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/third-rock-launches-gene-regulation-startup-55mRead more
FRAXA, the world’s leading organization fully committed to finding a cure for Fragile X syndrome, has announced Theodore G. Coutilish, Kathan Pierce, and Jessica Haugan have joined its Board of Directors. Kathan Pierce Kathan Pierce most recently held senior finance positions at Liberty Mutual Insurance and Fidelity Investments. She and her husband, Michael, live in Medford, Mass., with their two sons, Graham and Reid, who were diagnosed in 2015 and 2016 with FXS. She holds a BS in Business Administration from Villanova University and an MBA and Master of Science in Accounting from Boston College. She is co-founder of The Pierce Family Fragile X Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to raise funds to help find a cure for Fragile X and raise awareness. Jessica Haugen Jessica Haugen of Thompson, N.D., has served the youth of North Dakota for the past 11 years at Ruth Meiers Adolescent Center, a residential treatment center that focusesRead more
A potential new treatment for Fragile X syndrome is showing promise. While still early in development, the investigational drug was able to improve intellectual, learning and hyperactivity measures in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome. Anavex 2-73 is a sigma-1 receptor agonist being developed for autism spectrum disorders, including Rett syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, and for Alzheimer’s disease. Anavex Life Sciences presented the data at the Gordon Research Conference for Fragile X and Autism-Related Disorders, held June 5-10, 2016 in Mount Snow, VT. The study was sponsored by FRAXA, via the FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative, and performed by Fraunhofer Chile Research, in Santiago, Chile. “The ANAVEX 2-73 data in an array of behavioral paradigms in a validated mouse model of Fragile X is very encouraging. The results are promising for both Fragile X syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders, since there is an overlap in the clinical as well asRead more
Sean McBride, MD, PhD, and Thomas Jongens, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania Adapted from press release by University of Pennsylvania A new FRAXA-funded study shows how the hormone insulin – usually associated with diabetes — is involved in the daily activity patterns and learning deficits in the fruit fly model of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). The study also reveal a metabolic pathway that can be targeted by new and already approved drugs to treat Fragile X patients, notably metformin. The scientists study the common fruitfly, Drosophila, whose genome contains a cousin, or homologue, of the human FMR1 gene called dfmr1. The lab of Thomas Jongens, PhD, an associate professor of Genetics, along with doctoral student Rachel Monyak and Sean McBride, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at the Adult Developmental Disorders and Monogenic Disorders Clinic with Penn Behavioral Health, have been working with the fly model to find new therapies to treat the behavioralRead more
Matching Gift Companies YOU CAN MAKE YOUR GIFT WORTH EVEN MORE! Many companies sponsor matching gift programs and will match your gift to FRAXA. To find out if your company has a matching gift policy, check the list below or contact your company’s HR office. If your company is eligible, request a matching gift form and send it completed and signed with your contribution. Some companies will match gifts made by retirees and/or spouses. For companies that require FRAXA’s full legal name, it is FRAXA Research Foundation, Inc. THE IMPACT OF YOUR GIFT MAY BE DOUBLED OR EVEN TRIPLED! A Abbott Laboratories Acadian Asset Management Inc. Adage Capital Management Adobe Systems Inc. ADP AEP Aetna Inc. Aetna Life and Casualty Foundation The Air Products Foundation Allegro Microsystems Inc. Allstate Foundation Altria Group Inc. Anheuser Busch AMD American Electric Power American Express American Fidelity Corp. American International Group Inc. Ameritech Amgen
With a $110,050 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2005-2016, Dr. Sumantra Chattarji at the National Center for Biological Sciences researched how the amygdala is affected by Fragile X syndrome. Results published.
2016 Funding Priorities Start with Clinical Trials While FRAXA Research Foundation’s research goals remain largely unchanged, the landscape in which we operate has changed significantly in the past few years. Negative results from the major clinical trials of investigational agents have resulted in cessation of development of mGluR5 antagonists for Fragile X syndrome. There is still much evidence that this drug class could be successful as a Fragile X therapeutic, but we do not see the need for more “proof of principle”-type preclinical research on mGluR5 antagonists. Studies of possible mechanisms of tolerance in Fragile X would be appealing as a topic going forward, as would studies of circuit function in Fragile X, since available evidence suggests some form of circuit-based (rather than synaptic) tolerance in Fragile X mice and humans. Other potential areas of interest would include exploration of combination treatment strategies, both in animal models and in clinicalRead more
FRAXA Research Foundation is fortunate to attract volunteers and interns from universities far and wide. FRAXA has just four staff on the payroll (three of whom are part time), to keep expenses low and devote your donations to Fragile X research. That also means we are very grateful to our volunteers! This past summer we were joined at the FRAXA Newburyport, MA office by Emily Fluet, a student who had completed her freshman year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Emily has transformed two FRAXA publications into online resources available to all: Fragile X – A to Z and Medication Guide for Fragile X. My summer at FRAXA Research Foundation by Emily Fluet 9/1/2015 Many of my friends went on gap years last year, and hearing about their volunteering and service really inspired me: I wanted to do something to help out others as well. So I started researching nonprofits and was drawn to
One of the outcome measures - the new Fragile X Syndrome Rating Scale - showing positive results. Blue: placebo; Yellow: low-dose trofinetide; Green: high-dose trofinetide We are pleased to share great news adapted from Neuren’s press release: Neuren’s phase 2 trial has successfully established proof of concept and provides a strong rationale for Neuren to move forward with developing trofinetide for Fragile X syndrome. In this initial small trial with a relatively short treatment period, trofinetide was very well tolerated, with the high dose (70 mg/kg twice daily) demonstrating a consistent pattern of clinical improvement, observed in both clinician and caregiver assessments. After only 28 days of treatment, improvements were seen across core symptoms of Fragile X syndrome, including higher sensory tolerance, reduced anxiety, better self-regulation and more social engagement. No serious adverse events were reported. Positive Results in Fragile X Syndrome and Rett Syndrome Beneficial effects of trofinetide have now been observed in both FragileRead more
With a $100,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation in 2015, Dr. Peter Vanderklish explored a novel strategy to treat Fragile X syndrome: AMPK activators. The good news is that there are FDA approved (for example, metformin) and naturally occurring AMPK activators (such as resveratrol, found in red wine).
Dr. Jongens and his collaborators have found an insulin-like protein in the fly brain that is overexpressed in the Fragile X mutant fly, leading to increased activity of the insulin signaling pathway. Furthermore, they found that certain behavioral patterns in the Fragile X flies can be rescued by expressing the FX gene just in insulin producing neurons in the fly brain. In the mutant, there are other changes in the signaling pathways, including a decrease in cAMP and elevation in PI3K, mTOR, Akt and ERK activity. They now propose to study 2 medicines used for diabetes: pioglitazone (increases cAMP and decreases Akt and ERK) and metformin (inhibits mTOR), in flies and mice to validate the potential efficacy of these novel therapeutics for Fragile X.
FRAXA Research Foundation is proud to make a grant of $90,000 over 2014-2015 to Margaret King, PhD. The goal of this project is to identify new approaches to clinical trial design for Fragile X pharmaceuticals.