Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Adenosine Receptors in Fragile X

Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Adenosine Receptors in Fragile X

Caffeine is the most popular smart drug in the world. With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Alberto Martire, PhD and Antonella Borreca, PhD in Rome, Italy are investigating adenosine receptors antagonists to treat Fragile X syndrome. Compounds which are able to block adenosine receptors are commonly found in tea, chocolate, and coffee.

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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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Fragile X Clinical Trial on Novartis’s AFQ056 Opens Enrollment

Fragile X Clinical Trial on Novartis’s AFQ056 Opens Enrollment

Elizabeth M. Berry-Kravis, MD, PhD has informed us that Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is enrolling the first patient in the NeuroNext learning trial for children ages 3-6 this week. This is the start of a large-scale Fragile X clinical trial of Novartis AFQ056 (an mGluR5 antagonist) with children.

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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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Novel Modulators of Potassium Channels to Treat Fragile X

Novel Modulators of Potassium Channels to Treat Fragile X

With funding from FRAXA, the Yale University team of Leonard Kaczmarek, PhD showed that the firing pattern of suditory neurons in response to repeated stimulation is severely abnormal in Fragile X mice. Based on these results, they are collaborating with the UK-based company Autifony to develop advanced compounds which may reverse these deficits.

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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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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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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

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Lovamix: Clinical Trial of Combined Treatment of Minocycline and Lovastatin in Fragile X Syndrome

Lovamix: Clinical Trial of Combined Treatment of Minocycline and Lovastatin in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $66,714 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation awarded over 2015-2017, Dr. Francois Corbin at the Universite of Sherbrooke will test the safety and synergistic effects of lovastatin and minocycline in patients with Fragile X syndrome.

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Combinatorial Drug Treatment in a Model of Fragile X Syndrome using Novel Biomarkers

Combinatorial Drug Treatment in a Model of Fragile X Syndrome using Novel Biomarkers

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation awarded over 2016-2017, University of California researchers Khaleel Razak, PhD, and Jonathan W. Lovelace, PhD, are exploring drug combinations to limit hypersensitivity to sounds in Fragile X mice.  

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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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