Peter Todd, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology in the University of Michigan Medical School, was 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 cure Fragile X.Read more
Peter Todd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan, studies how malfunctions in RNA relate to FXTAS and other inherited disorders. His PhD, completed in 2004, focuses on the synaptic defects of Fragile X syndrome.
Fragile X Research Impacted by a Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens
Theirs was an effort by a small group of thoughtful, committed members of the Fragile X Association of Michigan (FXAM) to be sure. The entire project took months! But it was hard work well worth the effort. After writing and revising (and revising), FXAM was awarded a $35,000 grant which the Michigan Fragile X group will now direct to Dr. Todd’s ongoing Fragile X research involving CRISPR!Read more
Can CRISPR Cure Fragile X Syndrome?
CRISPR/Cas9 was used by MIT researchers to remove the molecular tags that keep the mutant gene shut off in Fragile X syndrome neurons and resulted in some of them producing protein normally. Much work is being done right now, with exciting new discoveries coming at a fast and furious pace.Read more
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.”Read more
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.Read more
Targeted Transcriptional Reactivation of FMR1 in Fragile X Syndrome Stem Cells
With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation awarded in 2016, University of Michigan researcher Peter Todd, MD, PhD, is using CRISPR to selectively turn the Fragile X gene back on in stem cells.Read more
University of Michigan researcher Peter Todd, MD, PhD, Aims to Selectively Turn the Fragile X Gene Back on in Human Cells
Fish like salmon are born in fresh water streams and rivers. When the time comes for them to breed, they return to the stream of their birth to lay eggs in the same spot where they were born. To accomplish this, they must swim upstream against the current or flow of the stream. Taking a page out of the salmon DNA playbook, University of Michigan scientists Peter Todd, MD, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow Jill Haenfler, Ph.D., are exploring unchartered waters to find a cure for Fragile X Syndrome. The researchers are adapting CRISPR research to reactivate the FMR1 gene, which provides instructions for making a protein called FMRP — needed for normal brain development.Read more
Role of Experience in Regulating Levels of the Fragile X Protein
FRAXA awarded $29,000 in 2001 and $20,000 in 2000 to Kenneth J. Mack, MD, PhD — Mayo Clinic with Peter K. Todd, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow. While a professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Mack investigated whether and how FMRP levels are regulated in response to neuronal stimulation in vivo (in live animals). He looked at the effects of seizures and of experience in his experiments. Dr. Mack and colleagues published their findings.Read more