Inhibiting Nonsense – Mediated mRNA Decay: A Potential Treatment Approach for Fragile X

Inhibiting Nonsense – Mediated mRNA Decay: A Potential Treatment Approach for Fragile X

All cells have a kind of housecleaning service which sweeps away genetic errors. This is called nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). With a previous FRAXA grant, this team discovered runaway NMD in cells of Fragile X patients. It’s not yet known how this impacts people with Fragile X. With this grant, Dr. Maquat and Dr. Kurosaki will test drugs which can bring NMD back to normal levels.

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Exploring Drug Repurposing to Restore Hippocampal Function in FXS Mouse Models

Exploring Drug Repurposing to Restore Hippocampal Function in FXS Mouse Models

A gene’s job is to produce a protein. In Fragile X syndrome, the FMR1 gene is mutated and cannot make FMRP, a protein which shapes connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. These connections are the basis of learning and memory. This team has discovered a mechanism involving FMRP that is absolutely essential to control the connections between neurons. These connections are the basis of learning and memory. They will now test available drugs which directly target this mechanism, to see if they can treat Fragile X syndrome.

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Contribution of Microglia to the Therapeutic Effects of Metformin and Adiponectin in Fragile X Syndrome

Contribution of Microglia to the Therapeutic Effects of Metformin and Adiponectin in Fragile X Syndrome

The research team of Brian Christie, PhD and Marie-Eve Tremblay is developing ways to balance hormones, including drugs like metformin and changes in diet, which could not only reduce hunger and obesity, but ultimately also improve learning and behavior in Fragile X syndrome.

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Alternative Splicing in White Blood Cells: A Biomarker for Fragile X Syndrome

Alternative Splicing in White Blood Cells: A Biomarker for Fragile X Syndrome

The Pierce Family Fragile X Foundation helping to fund a joint grant to the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Rush University Medical Center in exploring biomarkers to measure whether a treatment is helping and determine how to optimize treatment for each individual.

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Link Between Lipid Profile, eCBome System and Gut Microbiota in Fragile X Syndrome

Link Between Lipid Profile, eCBome System and Gut Microbiota in Fragile X Syndrome

Why does obesity challenge so many people with Fragile X? Dr. Caku’s team thinks changes in the gut are the culprit. This team has found that Fragile X syndrome causes changes in the tiny organisms that live in our gut. They believe that these abnormalities cause changes in the brain which impair learning and behavior.

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Characterization of Microglia Transcriptional Profile in Fmr1 Knockout Mice Mode

Characterization of Microglia Transcriptional Profile in Fmr1 Knockout Mice Mode

With this grant, the team will identify the pathways responsible for this excessive activation and attempt to reverse the excess. If they can correct this using drugs, they will be able to identify a new potential treatment for Fragile X solving one more piece of the Fragile X brain puzzle.

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The Role of Astrocyte BMP Signaling in Fragile X Syndrome

The Role of Astrocyte BMP Signaling in Fragile X Syndrome

Astrocytes are star-shaped cells that make up one fifth of all cells in the human brain. Recently researchers found a specific pathway in astrocytes that is overactive in Fragile X syndrome, and they hope to bring this pathway back to normal with a drug. With this grant, the team will try to correct the pathway in Fragile X mice. The hope is that they will find a new potential treatment approach for Fragile X syndrome.

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Repurposing FDA-Approved Drugs to Treat Major Depressive Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome

Repurposing FDA-Approved Drugs to Treat Major Depressive Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome

Did you know that depression is more common in those with autism and/or Fragile X? Even more disturbing is the discovery that current treatments for depression do not work in Fragile X mice. With this grant, the team will work to develop a rapid screening tool to identify FDA-approved drugs which can treat depression in people with Fragile X syndrome.

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Identifying Cellular and Molecular Signatures in Human Neurons That Distinguish Fragile X Syndrome Patients with Divergent EEG Profiles

Identifying Cellular and Molecular Signatures in Human Neurons That Distinguish Fragile X Syndrome Patients with Divergent EEG Profiles

Why is it so hard to find the right medications to help people with Fragile X? Just as Fragile X affects individuals differently, medications do as well. This project aims to bring personalized medicine to Fragile X syndrome.

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Drug Tolerance in MGluR5 Clinical Trials – Dr Patrick McCamphill 1:1 with FRAXA

Drug Tolerance in MGluR5 Clinical Trials – Dr Patrick McCamphill 1:1 with FRAXA

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.

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FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI)

FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI)

The FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI) provides speedy, cost-effective, objective preclinical testing of potential Fragile X treatments. FRAXA-DVI uses in-vitro systems, behavior batteries, and gene expression and peripheral biomarker platforms to validate investigational new drugs and repurposed available compounds in Fragile X syndrome (FXS).

FRAXA-DVI laboratoryRead more

Pharmacotherapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) in Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD)

Pharmacotherapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) in Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD)

This study will test CBD (cannabidiol) treatment in male and female Fragile X mice to learn how and why it works and whether gender affects responses to CDB treatment. Along with clinical trials, this study will help us to understand and optimize the potential of CBD as a behavior-regulating treatment for Fragile X.

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Screening Combinatorial Pharmacological Therapies for Fragile X Syndrome

Screening Combinatorial Pharmacological Therapies for Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $90,000 research grant to Stanford University principal investigators Dr. Philippe Jacques Mourrain and Dr. Gordon Wang, along with postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Rochelle Coulson. They are evaluating additive effects of combinatorial drug treatments to correct a broad spectrum of deficits observed in Fragile X syndrome.

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

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 participate in a study of brain differences using non-invasive EEG.

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Beneath the Surface of Fragile X Syndrome: Study Sheds Light on What’s Happening in Nerve Cells

Beneath the Surface of Fragile X Syndrome: Study Sheds Light on What’s Happening in Nerve Cells

This FRAXA-funded project has turned up some surprising results. At first, it might seem Kurosaki and Maquat have found yet another cellular process which is malfunctioning in Fragile X. But this finding is intimately related to previous findings of abnormal protein synthesis and misregulated transcription in Fragile X. FMRP (the protein lacking in Fragile X syndrome) is involved in chaperoning messenger RNAs within cells to active sites, and in controlling their translation into many different proteins. Some of these proteins are transcription factors, which feed back to the nucleus to control gene expression.

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Auditory System Dysfunction and Drug Tolerance in the Fragile X Mouse

Auditory System Dysfunction and Drug Tolerance in the Fragile X Mouse

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded $90,000 over 2019-2021 to principal investigator Dr. Jay Gibson and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Andrew Holley at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. They are investigating circuit mechanisms for auditory system dysfunction and drug tolerance in the Fragile X mouse model.

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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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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

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