Small Molecule Cocktail Can Reactivate the Fragile X Gene in Cells: Progress Report

Small Molecule Cocktail Can Reactivate the Fragile X Gene in Cells: Progress Report

With a $180,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation and the Pierce Family Fragile X Foundation, Dr. Jeannie Lee and her team at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital have run a series of studies aimed at reactivating the gene, FMR1, which is silenced in Fragile X syndrome. Dr. Lee and colleagues have found a method using combinations of specific drugs which can spur the FMR1 gene to produce its normal protein product.

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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 over 2015-2017, the Yale University team of Leonard Kaczmarek, PhD showed that the firing patterns of auditory 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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NKCC1 Inhibitor Bumetanide Corrects Synaptic and Circuit Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Mouse Model

NKCC1 Inhibitor Bumetanide Corrects Synaptic and Circuit Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Mouse Model

With $258,000 in grants since 2013 from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Anis Contractor and Dr. Qionger He at Northwestern University are exploring the potential of the available drug bumetanide to correct altered GABA signalling in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

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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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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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Defining Subcellular Specificity of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor (mGluR5) Antagonists

Defining Subcellular Specificity of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor (mGluR5) Antagonists

With $217,500 in grants from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Karen O’Malley and team studied the function of mGluR5 when it is inside cells. Many of the symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) are thought to arise due to overactive metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) signaling, which is normally opposed by the protein missing in FXS, Fragile X Protein (FMRP).

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Investigating Gene Reactivation to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

Investigating Gene Reactivation to Treat Fragile X Syndrome

With a $180,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2016-2017, Dr. Jeannie Lee and her team at Harvard are working to reactivate the gene that is silenced in Fragile X syndrome.

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Mechanisms of Tolerance to Chronic mGluR5 Inhibition

Mechanisms of Tolerance to Chronic mGluR5 Inhibition

Over the past few years, both Novartis and Roche sponsored large-scale clinical trials of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) to treat Fragile X syndrome (FXS). With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2015-2017, Dr. Mark Bear’s team will explore if mGlu5 NAMs dosed chronically causes tolerance, and if so, how it develops and to probe new avenues to prevent or circumvent it.

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Clinical Trial of Ganaxolone in Patients with Fragile X Syndrome

Clinical Trial of Ganaxolone in Patients with Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation funded during 2014-2015, Dr. Frank Kooy and colleagues at the University of Antwerp are conducting a double blind crossover trial of ganaxolone in patients with Fragile X syndrome. Results of this study were mixed (see Marinus: Results from Phase 2 Exploratory Clinical Study Support Continued Development of Ganaxolone in Fragile X Syndrome.

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Function of FMRP and Test of a Novel Therapeutic Approach in a Fragile X Mouse Model

Function of FMRP and Test of a Novel Therapeutic Approach in a Fragile X Mouse Model

With a 2015-2016 $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Herve Moine and Dr. Andrea Geoffroy aim to uncover the exact role of FMRP and to test a novel possible means to correct for FMRP absence in the mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

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Analysis of Developmental Brain Dysfunction in Families

Analysis of Developmental Brain Dysfunction in Families

FRAXA Research Foundation is proud to make a grant of $90,000 over 2014-2015 to Margaret King, PhD. The goal of this project is to identify new approaches to clinical trial design for Fragile X pharmaceuticals.

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Inhibitors of STEP as a Novel Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

Inhibitors of STEP as a Novel Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

With a $349,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2008-2015, Dr. Paul Lombroso and his team at Yale University researched if inhibiting STEP could reduce behavioral abnormalities in Fragile X syndrome. Results published.

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Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Mega Green Tea Extract in Fragile X Syndrome

Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Mega Green Tea Extract in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $124,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation from 2012-2014, Dr. Mara Dierssen and Dr. Rafael de la Torre conducted preclinical studies in Fragile X knockout mice and a clinical trial in Fragile X patients using Mega Green Tea Extract, which contains 45% by weight epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

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Synaptic Characterization of Human Fragile X Neurons

Synaptic Characterization of Human Fragile X Neurons

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2013-14, Dr. Marius Wernig and Dr. Samuele Marro at Stanford analyzed homeostatic plasticity and regulation of synaptic strength by retinoic acid. If the results are encouraging, they will move forward with testing whether available RA antagonists can alleviate observed abnormalities in these cells.

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Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 and Fragile X

Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 and Fragile X

With $208,000 in funds from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Richard Jope and his team at the University of Miami tested whether newly developed, highly specific inhibitors of GSK3 can reduce behavioral abnormalities in Fragile X mice.

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The miRNA Pathway in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2008-2009, Drs. Oostra and deVrij at Erasmus University studied miRNA and Fragile X. miRNAs are RNAs that can repress the translation of target mRNAs – therefore they can play a role in protein synthesis within the neuron. Preliminary results showed large differences in miRNA expression in the Fragile X mouse brain compared to the wild type. This lab investigated the effect of mGluR5 antagonists on the levels of these specific miRNAs.

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Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP-9) in Fragile X

Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP-9) in Fragile X

With a $220,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 3 years, Dr. Iryna Ethell from the University of California at Riverside studied the regulation of dendritic structure by matrix metalloproteinases and other extracellular signaling pathways. This work identified a major treatment strategy for Fragile X with the available MMP-9 inhibitor, minocycline.

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Pilot Trial of Minocycline in Fragile X

With a $40,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. Carlo Paribello and his team at the Surrey Place Centre Fragile X clinic in Toronto, Ontario, ran an open label trial to see if minocycline can improve learning and reduce anxiety and behavioral problems in people with Fragile X. Twenty participants between the ages of 13 and 35 years take minocycline for two months.

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Altered Cyclic AMP Signaling in Fragile X

Altered Cyclic AMP Signaling in Fragile X

With $125,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2006-2008, Dr. Anita Bhattacharyya at the University of Wisconsin Waisman Center investigated abnormalities in cyclic AMP signaling in Fragile X syndrome. Results published.

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Clinical Trial of Aripiprazol in Fragile X Syndrome

Clinical Trial of Aripiprazol in Fragile X Syndrome

With a FRAXA Research Foundation grant of $30,000 in 2006, Dr. Erickson conducted a pilot clinical trial of an available medicine, aripiprazole (brand-name Abilify). This was an open-label 12-week trial in 12 people aged 6–25 years with Fragile X. Results were promising, and published: 10 of the 12 participants showed behavioral improvements.

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Neurobiology of Fragile X Syndrome: A Unifying Neuro-Endocrine Hypothesis

With a $74,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Abdeslem El Idrissi at CUNY explored the GABA receptor system in Fragile X mice and tested somatostatin and taurine as potential therapies for Fragile X; while somatostatin must be infused intravenously, taurine is available as a nutritional supplement.

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Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysregulation in Fragile X Syndrome

Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysregulation in Fragile X Syndrome

The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is our central stress response system. FRAXA Research Foundation awarded Dr. Carolyn B. Smith $62,000 in funding in 2005 to explore the HPA axis in Fragile X mice. The results of their study indicate that, in FVB/NJ mice, the hormonal response to and recovery from acute stress is unaltered by the lack of Fragile X mental retardation protein. Results published.

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Role of Experience in Regulating Levels of the Fragile X Protein

Role of Experience in Regulating Levels of the Fragile X Protein

FRAXA Research Grant to Kenneth J. Mack, MD, PhD — Mayo Clinic with Peter K. Todd, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow   FRAXA Awards: $29,000 in 2001 $20,000 in 2000 Final Report on Dr. Mack’s Project 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 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: The Fragile X mental retardation protein is required for type-I metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent translation of PSD-95 Peter K. Todd, Kenneth J. Mack, and James S. Malter PNAS | November 25, 2003 | vol. 100 | no. 24

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