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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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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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

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

Targeting Adiponectin to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

Targeting Adiponectin to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $30,000 research grant to principal investigator Brian Christie, PhD, and postdoctoral fellows Jonathan Thacker, PhD, and Luis Bettio, PhD, at the University of Victoria. They are investigating whether boosting the hormone adiponectin can effectively treat Fragile X syndrome. This project is funded in partnership with the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada, which is providing an additional $15,000.

Dr. Bettio, Dr. Christie, Dr. ThackerRead more

Recruiting: Metformin Clinical Trial for Ages 16-50 with Fragile X Syndrome

Recruiting: Metformin Clinical Trial for Ages 16-50 with Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation is funding a clinical trial of metformin for teens and adults with Fragile X syndrome. The trial is being conducted by Dr. Sean McBride at Rowan University in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania. Men and women ages 16-50 with Fragile X syndrome are invited to participate.

Dr. Sean McBride and Seth BooryRead more

Healx Raises $56M to use AI to Find Treatments for Fragile X & Other Rare Diseases

Healx Raises $56M to use AI to Find Treatments for Fragile X & Other Rare Diseases

Healx has secured $56M in new financing to build a clinical-stage portfolio for rare diseases, including treatments for Fragile X syndrome, and to launch a global Rare Treatment Accelerator program. Where the traditional drug discovery model takes more than a decade and can run into the billions of dollars, Healx’s AI-driven approach makes the process faster, more efficient and cost-effective.

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Fragile X Clinical Trial of New PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra

Fragile X Clinical Trial of New PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra

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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Deep Molecular Profiling of Fragile X Mouse and Human Cells

Deep Molecular Profiling of Fragile X Mouse and Human Cells

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded $90,000 to Dr. Joel Richter, Principal Investigator, and Dr. Sneha Shah, Postdoctoral Fellow, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. They are using human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to analyze gene expression in Fragile X syndrome.

Deep Molecular Profiling of Fragile XRead more

Targeting Mitochondria in Human Fragile X Syndrome Neurons

Targeting Mitochondria in Human Fragile X Syndrome Neurons

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $90,000 research grant to principal investigator Dr. Xinyu Zhao and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Minjie Shen at the University of Wisconsin. They are investigating whether drugs which boost mitochondria — which provide the energy for cells — could treat Fragile X syndrome. Dr. Zhao explains in this video. With this award, FRAXA has funded almost $1 Million in Fragile X research at the University of Wisconsin!

Targeting MitochondriaRead more

Reactivating the FMR1 Gene to Reverse Fragile X Syndrome

Reactivating the FMR1 Gene to Reverse Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation and The Pierce Family Fragile X Foundation have awarded a 2019 grant of $90,000 to Dr. Jeannie Lee’s lab at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital. They have discovered a method that will reactivate the FMR1 gene by treating cells with a cocktail of small molecules, under a specific regimen in vitro (patent filing pending).

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Correcting Sensory Processing in Fragile X Mice by Modulating Kv3.1

Correcting Sensory Processing in Fragile X Mice by Modulating Kv3.1

FRAXA has awarded a $90,000 grant to Carlos Portera-Cailliau, PhD and Nazim Kourdougli, PhD at UCLA to investigate whether a novel drug can rescue sensory processing deficits in Fragile X mice. People with Fragile X have similar problems in sensory processing. This new drug acts on Kv3.1, a promising Fragile X treatment target also being pursued by UK-based Autifony Therapeutics based on FRAXA-funded research done at Yale.

Nazim Kourdougli and Carlos Portera-CailleauRead more

Gene Therapy Translational Studies for Fragile X Syndrome

Gene Therapy Translational Studies for Fragile X Syndrome

With this $90,000 award from FRAXA Research Foundation, Drs. Ernest Pedapati, Christina Gross, and student Lindsay Beasley will pursue preclinical gene therapy approaches using AAV (adeno-associated virus) vectors for treating Fragile X syndrome at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Dr. Craig Erickson elaborates about this in this video.

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Recruiting: Clinical Study of Non-Invasive EEG for Children Ages 2-7

Recruiting: Clinical Study of Non-Invasive EEG for Children Ages 2-7

Dr. Carol Wilkinson, MD PhD, and Dr. Charles Nelson, PhD, at Boston Children’s Hospital are recruiting children ages 2-7 years with Fragile X syndrome to join a study of brain differences using non-invasive EEG.

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Recruiting: Clinical Trial of Metformin for Fragile X Syndrome

Recruiting: Clinical Trial of Metformin for Fragile X Syndrome

Metformin is commonly prescribed to control high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. With a $50,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Artuela Çaku and Dr. Francois LePage are conducting an open-label clinical trial of metformin for children and adults with Fragile X syndrome, at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada.

Galarneau lab teamRead more

Developmental Profile of Glutamatergic Synapses in Fragile X

Developmental Profile of Glutamatergic Synapses in Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $90,000 research fellowship to Dr. Tue Banke. With this award, Dr. Banke is investigating how glutamate receptors at neuronal synapses – essential building blocks of learning and memory – are impacted in Fragile X syndrome. Dr. Banke recently left Aarhus University in Denmark to continue his research first as a visiting scholar and now as an assistant professor at the University of Washington.

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Reintroducing FMRP via Tat to Reduce Symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome

Reintroducing FMRP via Tat 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.

Ray Turner, PhD and Xiaoqin Zhan, PhDRead more

Enhancing NMDA Receptor Signaling to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

Enhancing NMDA Receptor Signaling to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

Dr. Stephanie Barnes has been investigating the role of NMDA receptors as a FRAXA Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Emily Osterweil’s laboratory at the University of Edinburgh from 2016-2018. With an additional year grant from FRAXA, she is now continuing her work to identify novel targets and test pharmacological therapies in the Fragile X mouse model at the Picower Institute at MIT with Dr. Mark Bear.

Stephanie Barnes, PhDRead more

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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FXS Patients’ Social Deficits are Linked to Social Anxiety, Eye-tracking Study Says

FXS Patients’ Social Deficits are Linked to Social Anxiety, Eye-tracking Study Says

Dr. Craig Erickson and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati used eye-tracking technology to understand sociability in Fragile X syndrome. This study affirms what so many parents, caretakers, and educators suspect: people with fragile X want to be social, and it is anxiety – not lack of interest – which usually hold them back. If anxiety could be reduced, more sociability would likely follow. Dr. Erickson is a Fragile X expert and FRAXA investigator who is currently conducting a Fragile X clinical trial of an investigational new drug.

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