Retinoic Acid Signaling Blocked by Fragile X Mutation

Retinoic Acid Signaling Blocked by Fragile X Mutation

A 2013-2014 FRAXA Research Grant, Synaptic Characterization of Human Fragile X Neurons, has shown that the Fragile X mutation impairs homeostatic plasticity in human neurons, by blocking synaptic retinoic acid signaling.

Principal Investigator Marius Wernig, PhD and FRAXA Postdoctoral Fellow Samuele Marro, PhD at Stanford University used stem cells from human adults, instead of mouse cells, for this study. They found promising results with retinoic acid which is a metabolite of Vitamin A. The system they have developed could provide a powerful new cellular biomarker for screening many treatment approaches.

Dr. Marro provided us with the following summary of the published results.

Read more

Ringing the Bell at the New York Stock Exchange for Fragile X Awareness

Ringing the Bell at the New York Stock Exchange for Fragile X Awareness

FRAXA Research Foundation was honored to be part of the opening bell ringing ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 5, 2018. We were there to raise awareness for Fragile X along side the National Fragile X Foundation. FRAXA President Katie Clapp and Director of Community Relations Dave Bjork attended with over 30 Fragile X family members and friends, including 4 self-advocates. This was a great opportunity to raise awareness of Fragile X on a big stage at an iconic place. The event was also carried live on television on CNBC, giving FRAXA and Fragile X broad reach around the world.

Read more

Impact of the Fragile X Community

Impact of the Fragile X Community

At FRAXA Research Foundation, we are truly grateful for our Fragile X community and thousands of donors. We couldn’t keep moving the ball forward in research without your support. Each year FRAXA invests over $1 million in Fragile X research thanks to your support. Because we supported these three researchers, we were able to secure another $35 million in research aimed at identifying clinical trial outcome measures that will lead to human trials of promising treatments for those affected by Fragile X.

Read more

FRAXA Annual Appeal Raised $760,000

FRAXA Annual Appeal Raised $760,000
Thanks to your generous support, we surpassed our annual appeal goal of $600,000 and are one step closer to finding effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Fragile X syndrome. From November 6 to December 31, collectively we raised over $760,000 from over 1,000 donors! This means we will also receive the matching gift of $600,000 from the Sunshine Lady Foundation!  We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our donors who generously gave to FRAXA Research Foundation in 2017 and look forward to continuing the promising translational Fragile X research momentum in 2018. Our next round of research proposals will be coming in February, and we’re so excited to fund more cutting-edge research. We couldn’t do this without your support. We have an incredible community of families and friends. We are truly grateful for all. We are all in this together.Read more

$17,469 Raised by Friends of FRAXA Volunteers at Bruins Game

$17,469 Raised by Friends of FRAXA Volunteers at Bruins Game

Over 50 #FriendsofFRAXA showed up on the the day after Thanksgiving, November 24, at the Bruins game against the Pittsburgh Penguins to sell 50/50 raffle tickets. Our amazing volunteers sold $34,938 in tickets resulting in $17,469 donated to FRAXA research. This was the highest amount the Bruins sold this year in raffle tickets!

Read more

Coming Full Circle – Kathy May Returns back to FRAXA

Coming Full Circle – Kathy May Returns back to FRAXA

Co-Founder Kathy May Returns after Two Decades to Write Grants. It’s about discovering new forms of treatments to enhance the mental, emotional and social growth of those affected by Fragile X. “And there will be a cure,” she said. “FRAXA is the reason for this hope. I have come full circle to FRAXA and feeling more hopeful than I have in many years.”

Read more

Fragile X Awareness Day Origins and a Tribute

Fragile X Awareness Day Origins and a Tribute

July 22 is National Fragile X Awareness Day, but I’ll bet few know the history behind it.

In 2000, before there was such a thing as a Fragile X Advocacy Day, FRAXA Research Foundation and David Busby (husband to Mary Beth, father to two adult sons living with Fragile X, a member of FRAXA’s pioneering leadership team, and a prominent and politically well-connected DC lawyer) were running Fragile X advocacy in Washington, DC.

Read more

FRAXA Plans for Fragile X Research: 2018 Funding Opportunities

FRAXA Plans for Fragile X Research: 2018 Funding Opportunities

FRAXA Research Foundation will fund over $1 million in research aimed at finding new and improved treatments — and ultimately a cure — for Fragile X syndrome. Research applications are due February 1, 2018. Clinical trial proposals are accepted anytime. Every year we receive proposals from scientists worldwide seeking funding for the most cutting-edge Fragile X research. 

Read more

FRAXA Announces 3 New Board Members

FRAXA Announces 3 New Board Members
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

Employer Matching Gift List

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

Read more

Boston Bruins Grant Funds New Fragile X Research

Boston Bruins Grant Funds New Fragile X Research
Boston Bruins Foundation’s $90,000 commitment to FRAXA Bruins Foundation Executive Director Bob Sweeney pledging a $90,000 donation to FRAXA Research today at Shared Living Collaborative’s Gateway Farm in Merrimac, MA. The award will enable the organization to fund an entirely new research project aimed at developing new treatments for Fragile X, a genetic syndrome that is the most common inherited cause of autism. #NHLBruins A photo posted by Boston Bruins (@nhlbruins) on May 28, 2015 at 10:29am PDT The new fellowship to be funded by this award goes to Drs. Lynne Maquat and Tatsuaki Kurosaki of the University of Rochester. They 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 -- and so If this projectRead more

FRAXA Grants and Fellowships for Fragile X Research – 2014 Priorities

Funding Priorities for 2014 Grant Cycle We anticipate particularly keen competition for funding in this grant cycle. Challenging economic times inevitably force us back to fundamental principles, and so our overall priorities for 2014 grants will be to bring new, high-quality scientists into the Fragile X field, and to promote translational, preclinical, and clinical research with the greatest chance of improving therapeutics for those living with Fragile X. Here are a few key implications of these policies: We want new ideas!  The mGluR Theory is now being tested in the clinic; we do not anticipate funding any major new projects investigating mGluR5 function, although there are many possible spin-off projects which could be the basis for successful applications.  Likewise, we do not assign a high priority to studies of every element of mGluR-coupled signaling pathways, unless the topic of study is an especially druggable target.  Most components of signaling pathways inRead more

FRAXA’s 2014 Top Goals

Complete Phase II/III Clinical Trials of mGluR5 Antagonists – and learn results Currently two large pharmaceutical companies – Novartis and Roche – are conducting large-scale clinical trials of experimental new medications for Fragile X syndrome which target the mGluR5 pathway.  The Novartis trial has finished enrolling adults and adolescents, while a pediatric trial is set to begin soon.  The Roche trial is well on the way to completion as well, but is still enrolling some age groups.  FRAXA has been working diligently to educate families about these trials in the hopes of getting them completed as quickly as possible.  Our goal (of course) is to discover whether these new drugs could be effective treatments for Fragile X, and to see these trials through to marketing of mGluR5 antagonists for Fragile X. Accelerate Clinical Trials of Investigational Treatments, based on research already funded by FRAXA New treatment strategies have emerged and

Read more

FRAXA Finances – the numbers 2010-2013

FRAXA Finances – the numbers 2010-2013
FRAXA has funded more than $22 million in research at universities all over the world. But fundraising has been challenging over the past few years. But the driving force behind FRAXA is parents who are determined to help their children. We’ve kept overhead expenses very low in order to devote as many dollars as possible to Fragile X research! 2012 Income Donations & Grants 1,390,944 (79%) Fundraising 243,881 (14%) Investments 120,183 (07%) Product & Royalties 5,287 (00%) Total:   1,760,294 (100%) Expenses Fundraising 82,254 (04%) Management/General 58,521 (03%) Program – Education 129,150 (07%) Program – Research 1,645,339 (86%) Total Expenses 1,915,265 (100%) Net Income -154,971 2011 Income Donations/Grants 1,109,353 (75%) Fundraising 351,617 (24%) Investments 9,913 (01%) Product & Royalties 5,603 (00%) Total: 1,476,486 (100%) Expenses Fundraising 70,504 (04%) Management/General 57,378 (03%) Program – Education 99,408 (06%) Program – Research 1,583,573 (87%) Total Expenses 1,810,864 (100%) Net Income -334,377 2010 Income Donations/GrantsRead more

Spreading Sunshine

There was a time when no one ever heard about Fragile X. The days seemed darker and colder back then. When a woman named Doris Buffett decided to embrace us, her warmth spread over us like a blanket, and the impact of her presence was immediate. As mothers and fathers of Fragile X children, we felt encouraged by the light Doris cast our way. We felt honored that the Sunshine Lady and her Foundation directors chose to invest in our children and our future. We were reinvigorated because of her generous financial support and her profound vision. Her tremendous energy turned contagious, fueling us to do more. Doris called FRAXA “The Gold Standard” in grass roots charities and donated more than $3 million to FRAXA in challenge grants. With our deepest gratitude, we are once again thanking Doris Buffett’s Sunshine Lady Foundation for her latest gift, a donation which willRead more

Letter from FRAXA’s Medical Director: State of the Science

On the eve of Thanksgiving, we want to thank everyone who has helped bring us so close to available treatments - and to take stock of where we are. by Michael R. Tranfaglia, MD Medical Director and Fragile X Parent Each year, we’ve described ever greater progress toward our ultimate goal: disease-modifying treatments and an ultimate cure for Fragile X. At times it must seem that this quest will take forever; however, the pace of research has truly moved into high gear in 2011! While FRAXA’s mission to find a cure for Fragile X is simple in concept, it is clearly a daunting task. To address the overwhelming complexity of this challenge, we have developed a plan of attack: • We fund high-quality basic research on the causes of Fragile X, which leads to possible treatment strategies (therapeutic targets). • We fund some of the finest neuroscientists in the worldRead more

Fragile X Research Grants and Fellowships Funded 2011

4/7/2011: FRAXA Awarded $1,054,286 in Fragile X Research Each year FRAXA holds a competition to find – and fund – the most promising new projects aimed at discovering targeted, effective treatments – and ultimately a cure – for Fragile X and related autism spectrum disorders. Each team has a page on this website with details. Our competitive grant-making process ensures that the best and most innovative research gets supported, that new scientists join the Fragile X field, and most important – that we get closer to a cure. FRAXA aims to advance the kind of translational research that is most likely to lead to improved treatment. FRAXA Postdoctoral Fellowships are for $45,000/yr for 2 years. FRAXA Project Grants vary in amount; amounts are per year and most projects are renewable based on progress) New Project Grants $363,088 New Postdoctoral Fellowships: $315,000 Renewed Postdoctoral Fellowships: $376,198 Total: $1,054,286 Additional awards wereRead more

FRAXA 2010 Research Awards Funded

4/1/2010 Program Grants and new Postdoctoral Fellowships total over $1.5 million this year. We are very pleased to announce FRAXA 2010 awards. Projects can be viewed at the Research Reports section of this website. These scientists have demonstrated outstanding potential of their FRAXA projects in detailed applications. We aim to help them work toward new treatments for Fragile X. Their projects are at the cutting edge of biomedical technology, and we believe that their work will make a real difference to everyone affected by Fragile X. FRAXA is collaborating with more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies to translate this research into practical treatments for Fragile X. In May, 100 FRAXA-supported researchers will join many of these pharmaceutical industry scientists at the FRAXA Investigators Meeting. There they will put their heads together for our common goal: finding effective treatments and a cure for Fragile X. We extend our most sincere gratitudeRead more

3 Researchers Honored at FRAXA Investigators Meeting

Three Researchers Honored at FRAXA 2008 Investigators Meeting Over 150 scientists from around the globe gathered in Durham, New Hampshire, for FRAXA Research Foundation's Investigators Meeting on September 21-24, 2008. They came from Australia, Canada, India, Turkey, the U.S., and eight European countries. Their common goal: "to share, collaborate and publish," in the words of FRAXA's Medical Director, Michael Tranfaglia, MD, to find effective treatments and a cure for Fragile X, the foremost inherited cause of mental retardation and autism. Most of the attendees were university-based professors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students who have FRAXA research grants. Also participating in the meeting were scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIMH, NICHD, and NINDS), Neuropharm Group PLC, Hoffman LaRoche Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Indevus, and Seaside Therapeutics, as well as 20 parents of Fragile X children. At the opening reception, FRAXA honored three investigators for taking extraordinary steps to advance research: FRAXARead more