Finding Fragile X Biomarkers – From Transcriptomics to Behavior in Patients

Finding Fragile X Biomarkers – From Transcriptomics to Behavior in Patients

With this $20,000 award from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Vanderklish and collaborators at Scripps Research Institute, the University of Chile, and the FLENI Institute in Argentina are analyzing patterns in gene expression in blood cells of patients with Fragile X syndrome. They are using “transcriptomics” which can produce a time-sensitive signature of an individual person which is even more detailed than genomics. This is the first time that all these different levels of study – from transcriptomics to behavior – have been done for individual patients with Fragile X. The hope is that they will obtain reliable new molecular biomarkers in platelets.

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Research Points to Drugs which Inhibit PDE to Treat Fragile X

Research Points to Drugs which Inhibit PDE to Treat Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation funded a grant of $90,000 over 2016-2018, for a postdoctoral fellowship for Thomas Maurin, PhD, working under the mentorship of Dr. Barbara Bardoni at INSERM in France. The team works on the biochemistry of the Fragile X protein. They have found that PDE inhibitors (a class of drugs) show promise as treatments for Fragile X syndrome. In related research, FRAXA is currently funding a clinical trial of PDE4D inhibitors.

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Metformin and Aberrant Insulin Signaling in a Fragile X Mouse Model

Metformin and Aberrant Insulin Signaling in a Fragile X Mouse Model

This 2017-2018 grant of $90,000 is funded jointly by FRAXA and the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada for the first year. A previous FRAXA grant to the Sonenberg lab has led to great interest in the available drug, metformin, as a potential treatment for Fragile X syndrome. FRAXA is currently organizing clinical trials of metformin.

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Non-Invasive Imaging as a Biomarker for Future Fragile X Clinical Trials

Non-Invasive Imaging as a Biomarker for Future Fragile X Clinical Trials

FRAXA Research Foundation has renewed Kamilla Castro’s 2017 FRAXA Fellowship for a second year. With this $90,000 award, Kamilla Castro and Principal Investigator Dr. Andreas Frick are using non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methodology to assess connectivity changes in the brain in Fragile X. If this project is successful, we will have objective outcome measures to evaluate new treatments, both in mice bred to mimic Fragile X and in human patients.

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Activity-Dependent Translational Profiling in Fragile X Neurons

Activity-Dependent Translational Profiling in Fragile X Neurons

FRAXA’s first-ever grant to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley goes to Dr. Nicholas Ingolia and Dr. J. Wren Kim to analyze the proteomics of Fragile X neurons using a newly developed tool which can distinguish the profiles of neurons that are actively responding to signals.

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Understanding and Reversing Hypersensitivity to Sounds in Fragile X Syndrome

Understanding and Reversing Hypersensitivity to Sounds in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2018-2019, Drs. Devin Binder, Iryna Ethell, and Patricia Pirbhoy at the University of California at Riverside aim to understand – and reverse – hypersensitivity to sound in Fragile X syndrome.

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Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome, Role for the Sound Localization Pathway

Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome, Role for the Sound Localization Pathway

FRAXA Research Foundation has renewed Dr. Elizabeth McCullagh’s 2017 FRAXA Fellowship for a second year. Dr. McCullagh and Principal Investigator Dr. Achem Klug are investigating the “cocktail party effect” in Fragile X mice. There is a specific circuit which allows us to discriminate between competing sound sources, helping us focus on a sound source of interest such as with a conversation partner. If clear differences are found in this circuit, they could be used as potential biomarkers for Fragile X clinical trials.

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Three-Dimensional Model for Identifying Fragile X Treatments

Three-Dimensional Model for Identifying Fragile X Treatments

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation awarded in 2018, Dr. Peng Jin and Dr. Juhnee Kang at Emory University will develop and analyze Fragile X brain organoids to understand the disorder and identify treatment targets.

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Pharmacological Tolerance in the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

Pharmacological Tolerance in the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Patrick McCamphill and Dr. Mark Bear at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will further investigate drug tolerance and ways to overcome it. 

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Fragile X Clinical Trial of New PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra funded by FRAXA

Fragile X Clinical Trial of New PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra funded by FRAXA

FRAXA Research Foundation has funded a clinical trial of an investigational new drug, led by Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis at the Rush Fragile X Clinic in Chicago. This trial will treat 30 adult males with Fragile X syndrome with a PDE4D allosteric inhibitor from Tetra Discovery Partners using in a crossover design, so that everyone gets active drug for part of the time and placebo for part of the time.

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Reintroducing FMRP to Reduce Symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome

Reintroducing FMRP to Reduce Symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation and the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada have awarded a grant of $100,000 over two years to Dr. Raymond Turner at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Dr. Turner and postdoctoral fellow Xiaoqin Zhan, PhD are attempting to reactivate a segment of FMRP to reverse symptoms of Fragile X in a mouse model of the disease to reduce abnormal behaviors.

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Neural Markers of Cognitive, Language and Behavioral Deficits in Children with Fragile X

Neural Markers of Cognitive, Language and Behavioral Deficits in Children with Fragile X

This 2017 grant of $90,000 over two years enabled Dr. Wilkinson to study EEG in young children with Fragile X syndrome at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. She is working with principal investigator, Dr. Charles Nelson, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a specialist in cognitive neuroscience. Co-funded by the Autism Science Foundation and the Pierce Family Fragile X Foundation.

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Repurposing Study II: Evaluating Combinations of Drugs to Treat Fragile X

Repurposing Study II: Evaluating Combinations of Drugs to Treat Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation initially partnered with Healx in 2016 to identify existing drugs with potential to treat Fragile X syndrome, using machine learning algorithms and computational biology.  The study produced results, and now FRAXA and Healx have launched a new round of studies to evaluate combinations of compounds, including both drugs and natural products.

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Fragile X Clinical Trial of AZD7325 in Adults

Fragile X Clinical Trial of AZD7325 in Adults

With a $51,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Craig Erickson will conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of AZD7325 in adults with Fragile X syndrome at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  The compound being studied is an investigational new drug from AstraZeneca that targets GABA (A) receptors.

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Genome-wide Screen for FMR1 Reactivation in Human FXS Neural Cells

Genome-wide Screen for FMR1 Reactivation in Human FXS Neural Cells

Drs. Mahmoud Pouladi and Kagistia Utami at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore have won a $67,500 research grant from FRAXA Research Foundation. Their goal is to reactivate the gene which is silenced in people who have Fragile X syndrome.

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Fragile X Syndrome Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI)

Fragile X Syndrome Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI)

The FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI) provides speedy, cost-effective, objective preclinical testing of potential new Fragile X treatments. FRAXA has funded FRAXA-DVI for $50,000 or more per year since 2012.

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MicroRNA Mediated Astroglial GLT1 Dysregulation in Fragile X

MicroRNA Mediated Astroglial GLT1 Dysregulation in Fragile X

Almost all brain research focuses on neurons – nerve cells. However, the brain has many more glial cells which support, nourish, and protect the neurons. FRAXA Research Foundation awarded a 2017 grant $90,000 to support Dr. Yang’s studies of how changes in glial cells contribute to Fragile X syndrome. This grant is funded by a grant from the Pierce Family Fragile X Foundation.

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Correcting Fragile X Syndrome Deficits by Targeting Neonatal PKCepsilon Signaling in the Brain

Correcting Fragile X Syndrome Deficits by Targeting Neonatal PKCepsilon Signaling in the Brain

FRAXA Research Foundation has made a 2017 grant of $90,000 to Probal Banerjee, PhD, at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). He is exploring a therapeutic strategy based on correcting abnormalities in the PKCepsilon signaling pathway in Fragile X. 

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Autophagy is a Novel Therapeutic Target of Impaired Cognition in Fragile X Syndrome

Autophagy is a Novel Therapeutic Target of Impaired Cognition in Fragile X Syndrome

Dr. Suzanne Zukin, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is expert on signaling pathways in the brain and the regulation of synaptic plasticity. With this 2017 grant of $90,000 from FRAXA Research Foundation, she and her team are exploring autophagy, which is how cells clean house, in Fragile X.

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Quantitative Assessment of the Serotonin System in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome

Quantitative Assessment of the Serotonin System in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA is proud to make a 2017 grant of $90,000 over two years to Clinton Canal, PhD. Dr. Canal, previously a research assistant professor at Northeastern University, has just launched his own lab at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA. He and his graduate students are fully committed to Fragile X research.

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Preclinical Testing of Sleep-Wake Patterns as an Outcome Measure for Fragile X

Preclinical Testing of Sleep-Wake Patterns as an Outcome Measure for Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation awarded $122,000 over 2016-2018 to Dr. Cara Westmark at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for studies of sleep disorders in Fragile X syndrome.

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A Kinase Assay as a Biomarker for Fragile X Syndrome

A Kinase Assay as a Biomarker for Fragile X Syndrome
With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2017-2018, Dr. Frank Kooy at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, is investigating whether phosphorylation abnormalities are a suitable biomarker for the Fragile X syndrome. $90,000 Grant Drs. Anke Van Dijck (FRAXA fellow, ganaxolone clinical trial), Ilse van der Werf, Geert Vandeweyer, Elisa Cappuyns (FRAXA fellow, this study), Frank Kooy R. Frank Kooy, PhD Principal Investigator University of Antwerp 2018 FRAXA Research Grant $90,000 over 2 Years “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” was a large-scale US anti-drugs TV campaign promoted by Partnership for a Drug-Free America in 1987. The purpose was to discourage use of illegal drugs by showing an egg frying in a pan simulating what drugs can due to your brain. It was incredibly simple and effective. TV Guide named it one of the top 100 commercials of all time. University of Antwerp researcher Frank Kooy, PhD, has a completely different updateRead more

Altered Sleep in Fragile X Syndrome: Basis for a Potential Therapeutic Target

Altered Sleep in Fragile X Syndrome: Basis for a Potential Therapeutic Target

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2016, 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.

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