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.

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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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Less Active Immune System Evident in Fragile X Patients, Study Suggests

Less Active Immune System Evident in Fragile X Patients, Study Suggests

People with Fragile X syndrome are more likely to develop infections, but are less susceptible to autoimmune disorders than the overall population, a new study found. Taken together, this suggests that the immune system is underactive in this patient population. The study, titled, “The phenotypical implications of immune dysregulation in Fragile X syndrome,” was published in the European Journal of Neurology.

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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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Should You Participate in a Fragile X Clinical Trial?

Should You Participate in a Fragile X Clinical Trial?

A Fragile X clinical trial of a new PDE4D allosteric inhibitor from Tetra Therapeutics is nearly complete. Right now there are 3 remaining spots open to males 18-45 years of age with Fragile X syndrome. Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is leading this trial. The drug being studied has a unique mechanism of action that might improve cognitive and memory function.  

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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.

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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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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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Tetra Announces $40M to Advance BPN14770 for FXS and Alzheimer’s Disease

Tetra Announces $40M to Advance BPN14770 for FXS and Alzheimer’s Disease

Tetra Discovery Partners has signed a multi-part deal that could bring it up to $160 million, plus royalties, from Shionogi & Co, Ltd, a Japanese major research-driven pharmaceutical company. Tetra currently is conducting an investigational Phase 2 study of BPN14770 in adults with Fragile X Syndrome, an indication for which BPN14770 has received Orphan Drug Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration. This clinical trial was made possible by early work with the FRAXA-DVI and over $200,000 from FRAXA.

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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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Mega Green Tea Extract to Treat Fragile X?

Mega Green Tea Extract to Treat Fragile X?

Green tea is thought to have many benefits, particularly in cognitive function. In 2012-14, FRAXA Research Foundation funded a clinical trial to assess the effects of EGCG (green tea extract) on cognitive function in adults with FXS. Drs. Rafael de la Torre and Mara Dierssen Sotos, principal researchers in Barcelona, Spain, reported memory, attention, and mental flexibility improvements.

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How Promising is CRISPR for Fragile X?

How Promising is CRISPR for Fragile X?

Peter Todd, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology in the University of Michigan Medical School, was recently awarded a FRAXA Research Grant for gene reactivation with the use of CRISPR. In this interview he tells us about CRISPR in Fragile X research, how realistic is it that it could turn the Fragile X gene back on, and if it can really be a cure for Fragile X.

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Retinoic Acid Signaling is Blocked by Fragile X Mutation

Retinoic Acid Signaling is Blocked by Fragile X Mutation

With a 2013-2014 FRAXA Research Grant, Principal Investigator Marius Wernig, PhD and FRAXA Fellow Samuele Marro, PhD at Stanford University found that the Fragile X mutation impairs homeostatic plasticity in human neurons, by blocking synaptic retinoic acid signaling. Retinoic acid is a metabolite of Vitamin A. The system they have developed could provide a powerful new cellular biomarker for screening many treatment approaches.

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Aripiprazole as a Treatment for Fragile X Syndrome

Aripiprazole as a Treatment for Fragile X Syndrome

Many medications are used to help people with Fragile X cope. But few clinical trials have been done on these drugs. Years ago FRAXA funded Dr. Craig Erickson to run a trial of aripiprazole (aka Abilify). FRAXA guest writer Hannah Miles recently caught up with Dr. Erickson to learn the results of the trial.

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Lysogene Partners with FRAXA Investigator Dr. Hervé Moine to Develop Gene Therapy for Fragile X

Lysogene Partners with FRAXA Investigator Dr. Hervé Moine to Develop Gene Therapy for Fragile X

A research project funded by FRAXA has led to new fragile x gene therapy initiative, this time in France. Lysogene, a French biopharmaceutical company working to develop gene therapy treatments for brain disorders, is partnering with FRAXA Investigator Dr. Herve Moine to tackle Fragile X syndrome.

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FRAXA Research Grants Drive Big Investments in Fragile X

FRAXA Research Grants Drive Big Investments in Fragile X

Most people know that FRAXA supports academic research at many institutions such as Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University. However, FRAXA is also working with more than 30 pharmaceutical companies around the world. Mike spends a lot of his time advising and collaborating with industry partners.

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CRISPR Reactivation of the Fragile X Gene

CRISPR Reactivation of the Fragile X Gene

“We are trying to target the first event that goes wrong in Fragile X syndrome”, says Todd, “One reason our previous attempts to develop treatments for Fragile X syndrome have failed is that they’ve tried to target the downstream effects of losing the Fragile X protein. The protein does many things… bypassing all the functions that it normally takes care of has proven difficult from a pharmacologic perspective.”

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Newly Discovered Regulatory Pathways in Fragile X

Newly Discovered Regulatory Pathways in Fragile X

Studies at Yale University and elsewhere are showing that FMRP plays a significant role in the regulation of potassium channels. Looking forward, potassium channel opener drugs could rescue some symptoms of Fragile X in humans.

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Drug Repurposing Study Results Accelerate Progress Towards Fragile X Treatments

Drug Repurposing Study Results Accelerate Progress Towards Fragile X Treatments

While there are over 8,000 rare diseases affecting an estimated 350 million people worldwide, only around 200 of these conditions have effective treatments. Due to the high cost of developing new drugs, rare diseases have historically been less attractive to pharmaceutical companies. Drug repurposing systematically leverages the detailed information available on approved drugs and reduces the time and money needed to deliver safe “new” treatments, but with greater success rates and a potentially more immediate impact on health care.

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In Their Own Words: Reports From the International Fragile X Workshop

In Their Own Words: Reports From the International Fragile X Workshop

The 18th International Fragile X and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workshop in Quebec, Canada, was a great success, featuring Fragile X much more heavily than any previous meeting in this series! We asked our speakers to summarize their work in their own words, with brief updates from researchers investigating Fragile X.

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