FRAXA and the Pierce Foundation are partners with Boston Children’s Hospital’s Fragile X Program and are pleased to help bring this important fragile X conference to the greater Boston community. Two FRAXA-supported researchers, Dr. Craig Erickson from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Dr. Carol Wilkinson from Boston Children’s Hospital will present their current work.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAX-DVI) provides speedy, cost-effective, objective testing of potential new fragile X treatments. FRAXA has funded FRAX-DVI for $50,000 in 2017.