Takeaways from Fragile X Advocacy Day

Takeaways from Fragile X Advocacy Day

In the first week of March I attended my first Fragile X Advocacy Day to meet with many of the Massachusetts delegation to Congress. While this was my first time advocating for Fragile X research, I’ve been a longtime lung cancer research advocate and have met with many of the same representatives in the past. It was a pleasure to meet with many of the families as my participation in Advocacy Day was in the spirit of “we are all in this together”.

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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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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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Now Recruiting: Clinical Study of EEG for Young Boys at Boston Children’s Hospital

Now Recruiting: Clinical Study of EEG for Young Boys at Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. Carol Wilkinson, MD PhD, and Dr. Charles Nelson, PhD, at the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital are recruiting young boys with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) to participate in a study investigating how differences in brain activity affect learning, language, and behavior in FXS. If we can determine what distinguishes one brain from another, and if a drug works with a particular neural marker or set of neural markers, this would permit matching drugs based on objective biological markers, a personalized medicine, rather than defaulting to the current method of trial and error.

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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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Impact of the Fragile X Community

Impact of the Fragile X Community

At FRAXA Research Foundation, we are truly grateful for our Fragile X community and thousands of donors. We couldn’t keep moving the ball forward in research without your support. Each year FRAXA invests over $1 million in Fragile X research thanks to your support. Because we supported these three researchers, we were able to secure another $35 million in research aimed at identifying clinical trial outcome measures that will lead to human trials of promising treatments for those affected by Fragile X.

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FX-LEARN – Clinical Trial for Language Learning of AFQ056 in Children

FX-LEARN – Clinical Trial for Language Learning of AFQ056 in Children

The purpose of this NeuroNEXT study is to find out if the drug AFQ056, made by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, is safe and has beneficial effects on language learning in children who have Fragile X syndrome (FXS). The study also aims to find out if a structured language intervention can help children with Fragile X syndrome communicate better.

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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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FRAXA Annual Appeal Raised $760,000

FRAXA Annual Appeal Raised $760,000
Thanks to your generous support, we surpassed our annual appeal goal of $600,000 and are one step closer to finding effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Fragile X syndrome. From November 6 to December 31, collectively we raised over $760,000 from over 1,000 donors! This means we will also receive the matching gift of $600,000 from the Sunshine Lady Foundation!  We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our donors who generously gave to FRAXA Research Foundation in 2017 and look forward to continuing the promising translational Fragile X research momentum in 2018. Our next round of research proposals will be coming in February, and we’re so excited to fund more cutting-edge research. We couldn’t do this without your support. We have an incredible community of families and friends. We are truly grateful for all. We are all in this together.Read more

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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$17,469 Raised by Friends of FRAXA Volunteers at Bruins Game

$17,469 Raised by Friends of FRAXA Volunteers at Bruins Game

Over 50 #FriendsofFRAXA showed up on the the day after Thanksgiving, November 24, at the Bruins game against the Pittsburgh Penguins to sell 50/50 raffle tickets. Our amazing volunteers sold $34,938 in tickets resulting in $17,469 donated to FRAXA research. This was the highest amount the Bruins sold this year in raffle tickets!

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Coming Full Circle – Kathy May Returns back to FRAXA

Coming Full Circle – Kathy May Returns back to FRAXA

Co-Founder Kathy May Returns after Two Decades to Write Grants. It’s about discovering new forms of treatments to enhance the mental, emotional and social growth of those affected by Fragile X. “And there will be a cure,” she said. “FRAXA is the reason for this hope. I have come full circle to FRAXA and feeling more hopeful than I have in many years.”

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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. These brief updates from researchers investigating Fragile X.

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Connectivity as a Biomarker for Future Fragile X Clinical Trials

Connectivity as a Biomarker for Future Fragile X Clinical Trials

With a 2017 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation of $90,000, Dr. Andreas Frick’s team at Neurocentre Magendie, in France, will test non-invasive imaging using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a potential biomarker for future Fragile X syndrome clinical trials.

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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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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.

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

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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