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.

Meng Li, PhD, Xinyu Zhao, PhD, and Anita Bhattacharyya, PhDRead more

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.”

Todd-HaenflerRead more

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.

kaczmarek-Hassar-BrownRead more

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.

Healx team David, Dan, Narissa - FRAXA (1)Read more

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.

18th International Fragile X and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workshop, Quebec, CanadaRead more

Brain Imbalance Target of Dr. Erickson’s New Clinical Trial

Brain Imbalance Target of Dr. Erickson’s New Clinical Trial

According to Dr. Erickson, AZD7325 is a drug that selectively boosts GABA neurotransmission in the brain. GABA is the primary neurochemical in the brain that blocks brain activation. GABA activity is in balance in the brain with Glutamate activity, which is the primary neurochemical that causes brain activation. In Fragile X, GABA activity is insufficient and glutamate activity is excessive, likely causing brain activity to be out of balance. AZD7325 attempts to correct parts of this imbalance by boosting the insufficient GABA activity in the brains of people with Fragile X.

Craig Erickson labRead more

Fragile X in the Forefront of International Conference

Fragile X in the Forefront of International Conference

Today the 18th International Fragile X and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workshop kicks off in Quebec, Canada. For the next six days, scientists from around the world will gather at this workshop to focus on recent breakthroughs in our understanding of Fragile X, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and related neurodevelopmental disorders. This biennial meeting has been instrumental to the discovery of many disease-causing genes and the development of therapeutic strategies for these disorders.

18th International Fragile X and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workshop, Quebec, CanadaRead more

Neural Markers of Fragile X: A Powerful New Tool for Clinical Trials

Neural Markers of Fragile X: A Powerful New Tool for Clinical Trials

Once the neural marker is identified for a particular challenge, such as kids with poor language versus good language, neural markers can be measured during drug and behavioral therapy trials to see if a child is improving based on objective biological measures.

Neural Markers of Fragile X: A Powerful New Tool for Clinical TrialsRead more

Targeting Serotonin Receptors to Treat Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms

Targeting Serotonin Receptors to Treat Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation awarded in 2017, Dr. Clinton Canal targets seratonin receptors. “There are 15 unique serotonin receptors (at least) and many of them impact the function of brain circuits that are impaired in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders,” said Dr. Canal. “Results from this project could guide new drug discovery or drug repurposing for Fragile X.”

Clinton Canal, PhDRead more

Metformin, Diabetes Drug, Potential Fragile X Treatment

Metformin, Diabetes Drug, Potential Fragile X Treatment

“We treated mice with metformin and corrected all the core Fragile X deficits. We are optimistic about using metformin in human clinical trials. This is a generic drug with few side effects” says Nahum Sonenberg, PhD, James McGill Professor, Department of Biochemistry, McGill Cancer Center, McGill University.

Nahum Sonenberg, PhD, 2017 Fragile X Research GrantRead more

Did Tolerance Result in Fragile X mGluR5 Clinical Trial Failures?

Did Tolerance Result in Fragile X mGluR5 Clinical Trial Failures?

Although the clinical trials failed to show efficacy in the patient population and Novartis and Roche discontinued their Fragile X development programs, Dr. Senter has worked with Mark Bear, PhD to carefully review parent observations. Those caregiver reports suggested tolerance to mGlu5 antagonists. Antagonists developed quickly, consistent with some preclinical findings in the mouse model.

Senter_RKRead more

Repurposing Available Drugs to Treat Fragile X Syndrome – FRAXA Initiatives

Repurposing Available Drugs to Treat Fragile X Syndrome – FRAXA Initiatives

FRAXA Research Foundation was founded in 1994 to fund biomedical research aimed at finding a cure for Fragile X syndrome and, ultimately, autism. We prioritize translational research with the potential to lead to improved treatments for Fragile X in the near term. Our early efforts involved supporting a great deal of basic neuroscience to understand the cause of Fragile X. By 1996, these efforts had already begun to yield results useful for drug repurposing. To date, FRAXA has funded well over $25 million in research, with over $3 million of that for repurposing existing drugs for Fragile X.

Read more

Fragile X Research Tackles High Anxiety – Peter Vanderklish

Fragile X Research Tackles High Anxiety – Peter Vanderklish

Yes, we all know the signs of Fragile X anxiety: Ears begin turning red followed by incessant pacing, heavy breathing, stiffening body, flapping, jumping, avoidance or yelling. Sometimes, it’s the more severe screaming, pinching, scratching, biting and general tearing things up or, worse, the nuclear meltdown.

Fragile X researchers tackle AnxietyRead more

Trial and No Error: Better Outcomes for Clinical Trials in Fragile X Syndrome

Trial and No Error: Better Outcomes for Clinical Trials in Fragile X Syndrome

Johns Hopkins researcher Christina Timmerman, PhD, searches for a less subjective method to determine if a drug is working in patients with Fragile X syndrome. Many parents of children with Fragile X syndrome were crushed when promising drug trials were unexpectedly stopped a few years ago because subjective behavior-based outcome measures did not justify continuing the trials. The strong feelings linger today. If all goes well with Christina Timmerman’s research, future drug trials may be able to continue with additional metrics for assessment, until there are advanced treatments or even a cure for Fragile X syndrome.

Christina Timmerman - Meffert labRead more

NIH Investigator Carolyn Beebe Smith, PhD, Looks to Improve Sleep in Fragile X Syndrome

NIH Investigator Carolyn Beebe Smith, PhD, Looks to Improve Sleep in Fragile X Syndrome

Our sons with Fragile X Syndrome typically go to bed early and rise early. Sometimes they jump on us while we are sleeping at 3 a.m., excited to start their day. For heaven’s sake, why? The answer may come from Carolyn Beebe Smith, PhD, senior investigator, Section on Neuroadaptation and Protein Metabolism, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. She is studying why children, in particularly boys, with FXS have problems sleeping.

Read more

Mark Bear’s Goal: Disease-Modifying Treatments for Fragile X

Mark Bear’s Goal: Disease-Modifying Treatments for Fragile X

Researcher Mark Bear, PhD, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, sees success developing disease-modifying treatments for Fragile X syndrome and other developmental brain disorders. Finally, hope. And it comes from his lab, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mark Bear lab - Fragile X Read more

Kimberly Huber, PhD, Explores Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Syndrome

Kimberly Huber, PhD, Explores Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Syndrome

Ever wonder why your child with Fragile X suddenly screams for no apparent reason or jumps and flaps uncontrollably seemingly for hours? You got it: hyperexcitability. But what exactly causes it? And what can fix it? Kimberly Huber, PhD, is working long and hard in her lab to answer those questions. Dr. Huber, professor, Neuroscience, UT Southwestern Medical Center, is seeking to understand how FMRP regulates connections between brain cells, called synapses, and the function of brain circuits, which are several connected brain cells.

Dr. Kimberly HuberRead more

Enhancement of NMDA Receptor Signaling for the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

Enhancement of NMDA Receptor Signaling for the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

FRAXA Research Foundation funded a 2016-2017 Fellowship for Dr. Stephanie Barnes in the University of Edinburgh lab of Dr. Emily Osterweil. With this $90,000 award, the team is investigating NMDA signaling in fragile X syndrome mice.

Emily OsterweilRead more