2021 Fragile X Research Grants Funded by FRAXA Research Foundation

2021 Fragile X Research Grants Funded by FRAXA Research Foundation

Each year, FRAXA funds a diverse portfolio of research. Our FRAXA Fellowships are seed funding for the future, the feedstock for the Fragile X treatment development pathway. While we are looking to promote as many promising new approaches as possible, prominent themes emerge each year, as scientists around the world tackle previously neglected areas.

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Exploring Drug Repurposing to Restore Hippocampal Function in FXS Mouse Models

Exploring Drug Repurposing to Restore Hippocampal Function in FXS Mouse Models

A gene’s job is to produce a protein. In Fragile X syndrome, the FMR1 gene is mutated and cannot make FMRP, a protein which shapes connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. These connections are the basis of learning and memory. This team has discovered a mechanism involving FMRP that is absolutely essential to control the connections between neurons. These connections are the basis of learning and memory. They will now test available drugs which directly target this mechanism, to see if they can treat Fragile X syndrome.

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Repurposing FDA-Approved Drugs to Treat Major Depressive Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome

Repurposing FDA-Approved Drugs to Treat Major Depressive Disorder in Fragile X Syndrome

Did you know that depression is more common in those with autism and/or Fragile X? Even more disturbing is the discovery that current treatments for depression do not work in Fragile X mice. With this grant, the team will work to develop a rapid screening tool to identify FDA-approved drugs which can treat depression in people with Fragile X syndrome.

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FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI)

FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI)

The FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative (FRAXA-DVI) provides speedy, cost-effective, objective preclinical testing of potential Fragile X treatments. FRAXA-DVI uses in-vitro systems, behavior batteries, and gene expression and peripheral biomarker platforms to validate investigational new drugs and repurposed available compounds in Fragile X syndrome (FXS).

FRAXA-DVI laboratoryRead more

Beneath the Surface of Fragile X Syndrome: Study Sheds Light on What’s Happening in Nerve Cells

Beneath the Surface of Fragile X Syndrome: Study Sheds Light on What’s Happening in Nerve Cells

This FRAXA-funded project has turned up some surprising results. At first, it might seem Kurosaki and Maquat have found yet another cellular process which is malfunctioning in Fragile X. But this finding is intimately related to previous findings of abnormal protein synthesis and misregulated transcription in Fragile X. FMRP (the protein lacking in Fragile X syndrome) is involved in chaperoning messenger RNAs within cells to active sites, and in controlling their translation into many different proteins. Some of these proteins are transcription factors, which feed back to the nucleus to control gene expression.

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Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Sensory Hypersensitivity in the fmr1 Knockout Mouse

Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Sensory Hypersensitivity in the fmr1 Knockout Mouse

In this Fragile X research webinar we hear from Devin K. Binder, MD, PhD, Professor, University of California at Riverside Medical School and Khaleel Razak, PhD, Professor, University of California at Riverside as they present about Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Sensory Hypersensitivity in the fmr1 Knockout Mouse.

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Aripiprazole (Abilify) in the Treatment of People with Fragile X: An Anecdotal Account

Aripiprazole (Abilify) in the Treatment of People with Fragile X: An Anecdotal Account

The aim of this article is to discuss the use of Abilify (generic name: aripiprazole) as a treatment for people with Fragile X syndrome (FXS). As an “off-label” prescription, Abilify targets behaviors such as irritability, aggression, self-injury and severe tantrums.

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Drug Repurposing for Rare Disease and the Future of Health – The Genetics Podcast

Drug Repurposing for Rare Disease and the Future of Health – The Genetics Podcast

In this double-bill episode of The Genetics Podcast, Dr. Patrick Short talks to two key rare disease researchers in the field: Dr. Bruce Bloom, CCO of Healx, and Dr. Mike Tranfaglia, CSO of FRAXA. Both draw on their wide-ranging personal and professional experiences to discuss the successes and opportunities of drug repurposing, the power of using machine learning, and the work they’ve been doing to aid in finding effective treatments for Fragile X.

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Considering Available Drugs for Fragile X: My Favorite Combination (So Far)

Considering Available Drugs for Fragile X: My Favorite Combination (So Far)

Which of the available drugs are best for fragile X? We tend to think of drugs according to their primary activity in the body, but very few drugs are totally selective and specific. There are differences between drugs in any given class, and these differences may be critical. Most drugs have “off-target” effects which are usually considered side effects, and it is these side effects which can have key advantages, in some cases.

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New Partners Aim to Accelerate the Discovery and Repurposing of Medicines for Rare Neurological Diseases

New Partners Aim to Accelerate the Discovery and Repurposing of Medicines for Rare Neurological Diseases

First Healx secured $56M in new financing to launch a global Rare Treatment Accelerator program to tackle Fragile X syndrome and 39 other rare diseases. Now they have built a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim worth millions. It all started with a small FRAXA grant to Healx to repurpose available drugs for Fragile X.

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Healx Raises $56M to use AI to Find Treatments for Fragile X & Other Rare Diseases

Healx Raises $56M to use AI to Find Treatments for Fragile X & Other Rare Diseases

Healx has secured $56M in new financing to build a clinical-stage portfolio for rare diseases, including treatments for Fragile X syndrome, and to launch a global Rare Treatment Accelerator program. Where the traditional drug discovery model takes more than a decade and can run into the billions of dollars, Healx’s AI-driven approach makes the process faster, more efficient and cost-effective.

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Screening 2,320 FDA-Approved Drugs for Potential Treatment of Fragile X

Screening 2,320 FDA-Approved Drugs for Potential Treatment of Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $90,000 grant to Principal Investigator Dr. Sean McBride and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Karen Joyce, at Rowan University, to screen all 2,320 FDA-approved drugs on both mouse and fly models of Fragile X syndrome. Those drugs which show promise will be tested in more detail for potential to treat Fragile X in humans.

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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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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.

Healx team 2018Read more

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.

Healx team David, Dan, Narissa - FRAXA (1)Read more

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, with brief updates from researchers investigating Fragile X.

18th International Fragile X and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workshop, Quebec, CanadaRead more

Targeting Serotonin Receptors to Treat Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms

Targeting Serotonin Receptors to Treat Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation awarded in 2017, Dr. Clinton Canal targets seratonin receptors. “There are 15 unique serotonin receptors (at least) and many of them impact the function of brain circuits that are impaired in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders,” said Dr. Canal. “Results from this project could guide new drug discovery or drug repurposing for Fragile X.”

Clinton Canal, PhDRead more

Preclinical Testing of Sleep-Wake Patterns as an Outcome Measure for Fragile X

Preclinical Testing of Sleep-Wake Patterns as an Outcome Measure for Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation awarded $122,000 over 2016-2018 to Dr. Cara Westmark at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for studies of sleep disorders in Fragile X syndrome.

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Repurposing Available Drugs to Treat Fragile X Syndrome – FRAXA Initiatives

Repurposing Available Drugs to Treat Fragile X Syndrome – FRAXA Initiatives

FRAXA Research Foundation was founded in 1994 to fund biomedical research aimed at finding a cure for Fragile X syndrome and, ultimately, autism. We prioritize translational research with the potential to lead to improved treatments for Fragile X in the near term. Our early efforts involved supporting a great deal of basic neuroscience to understand the cause of Fragile X. By 1996, these efforts had already begun to yield results useful for drug repurposing. To date, FRAXA has funded well over $25 million in research, with over $3 million of that for repurposing existing drugs for Fragile X.

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Boston Bruins Grant Funds New Fragile X Research

Boston Bruins Grant Funds New Fragile X Research

Bruins Foundation Executive Director Bob Sweeney pledging a $90,000 donation to FRAXA Research today at Shared Living Collaborative’s Gateway Farm in Merrimac, MA. The award will enable the organization to fund an entirely new research project aimed at developing new treatments for Fragile X, a genetic syndrome that is the most common inherited cause of autism.

Bruins $90,000 donation to FRAXA for Fragile X research grantRead more