20 Years of Advancing Fragile X Research: Progress Toward a Cure

20 Years of Advancing Fragile X Research: Progress Toward a Cure

Dr. Mark Bear joined the Fragile X field in 1999 when he received a research grant from FRAXA Research Foundation. At the time, we recognized the symptoms of Fragile X, and we knew its cause: a single missing protein. But we knew very little else. Dr. Bear traces the discoveries that now give us great optimism of finding effective treatments and ultimately a cure for Fragile X.

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Drug Tolerance in MGluR5 Clinical Trials – Dr Patrick McCamphill 1:1 with FRAXA

Drug Tolerance in MGluR5 Clinical Trials – Dr Patrick McCamphill 1:1 with FRAXA

We have long suspected that the clinical trials of mGluR5 blockers from Novartis and Roche failed because the drug triggered tolerance, losing effect over time. With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. Patrick McCamphill, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT lab of Dr. Mark Bear, is investigating. He does indeed find tolerance, and now he is looking for ways to overcome it.

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Parkinson’s Therapy May Hold Promise for Fragile X

Parkinson’s Therapy May Hold Promise for Fragile X

A study funded by FRAXA in Italy has encouraging results for people with Fragile X: drugs that block adenosine receptors (A2A) reversed signs of Fragile X in a mouse model. 

“One of the most intriguing things about this study is that it points to an entire drug class (not just the one drug used) as potentially therapeutic for Fragile X. Many available compounds block A2A receptors, and we know they are safe and effective.

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Bryostatin-1 in Long-term Use Seen to Arrest Fragile X Symptoms in Mouse Model

Bryostatin-1 in Long-term Use Seen to Arrest Fragile X Symptoms in Mouse Model

Long-term, but not short-term, treatment with bryostatin-1 — Neurotrope’s lead investigational therapy — arrested such behavioral and cognitive symptoms as hyperactivity, difficulties with daily life activities, and learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

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Positive Results Reported in Phase II Fragile X Clinical Trial of PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra Therapeutics

Positive Results Reported in Phase II Fragile X Clinical Trial of PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra Therapeutics

Today, Tetra Therapeutics announces the first unequivocally positive phase 2 clinical trial in Fragile X syndrome, press release below. The results do not depend on carving out a subset of patients or post hoc analysis.

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Auditory System Dysfunction and Drug Tolerance in the Fragile X Mouse

Auditory System Dysfunction and Drug Tolerance in the Fragile X Mouse

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded $90,000 over 2019-2021 to principal investigator Dr. Jay Gibson and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Andrew Holley at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. They are investigating circuit mechanisms for auditory system dysfunction and drug tolerance in the Fragile X mouse model.

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Scientists Find a New Way to Reverse Symptoms of Fragile X

Scientists Find a New Way to Reverse Symptoms of Fragile X

FRAXA Investigator and MIT Professor Mark Bear and his colleagues have identified a valuable new target for Fragile X therapeutics: GSK3 alpha. Several FRAXA research teams previously identified GSK3 beta as a treatment target for Fragile X. The catch is that, so far, GSK3 beta inhibitors have proven too toxic for regular use. Dr. Bear’s new discovery opens up the possibility of developing more selective compounds with less toxicity and fewer side effects. Interestingly, lithium inhibits both GSK3 versions – alpha and beta.

Bear lab (Bear 3rd from left, McCamphill on right)Read more

fNIRS to Measure Treatment Response in Young Children with Fragile X

fNIRS to Measure Treatment Response in Young Children with Fragile X

FRAXA Research Foundation has awarded a $90,000 research grant to Dr. Craig Erickson and Dr. Elizabeth Smith at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to test functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), in children who have Fragile X syndrome. fNIRS is safe, non-invasive, and easily-tolerated. It uses light sources and sensors on the scalp to build a heat map of the brain in action.

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Results Reported: Using EEG Responses to Sound for Fragile X Drug Discovery

Results Reported: Using EEG Responses to Sound for Fragile X Drug Discovery

Jonathan Lovelace, a FRAXA funded Postdoc at UC Riverside, has made some exciting EEG findings over the past few years studying auditory hypersensitivity in mice and therapeutic drug treatments. A big obstacle in FXS research has been establishing reliable, unbiased, and translation relevant biomarkers that can be used to determine the effectiveness of therapies. One of the most important discoveries they have made is the striking similarity in EEG biomarkers between mice and humans.

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Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Adenosine Receptors in Fragile X

Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Adenosine Receptors in Fragile X

Caffeine is the most popular smart drug in the world. With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Alberto Martire, PhD and Antonella Borreca, PhD in Rome, Italy are investigating adenosine receptors antagonists to treat Fragile X syndrome. Compounds which are able to block adenosine receptors are commonly found in tea, chocolate, and coffee.

Antonella Borreca, PhD, and Alberto Martire, PhDRead more

Pharmacological Tolerance in the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

Pharmacological Tolerance in the Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2018-2019, Dr. Patrick McCamphill, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Mark Bear’s lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is investigating drug tolerance to mGluR5 antagonists, arbaclofen, and other potential Fragile X treatments. He is also exploring ways to overcome it.

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Newly Discovered Regulatory Pathways in Fragile X

Newly Discovered Regulatory Pathways in Fragile X

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.

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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, with brief updates from researchers investigating Fragile X.

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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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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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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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Development of a High-Content Synapse Assay to Screen Therapeutics for Fragile X Syndrome

Development of a High-Content Synapse Assay to Screen Therapeutics for Fragile X Syndrome

With a $45,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation in 2009, Dr. Mark Bear and Dr. Asha Bhakar used High Content Screening (HCS) to develop an assay sensitive to the effect of the FXS genotype. This project was funded in full by NIH after the first year.

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Mark Bear’s Goal: Disease-Modifying Treatments for Fragile X

Mark Bear’s Goal: Disease-Modifying Treatments for Fragile X

Researcher Mark Bear, PhD, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, sees success developing disease-modifying treatments for Fragile X syndrome and other developmental brain disorders. Finally, hope. And it comes from his lab, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mark Bear lab - Fragile X Read more

Kimberly Huber, PhD, Explores Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Syndrome

Kimberly Huber, PhD, Explores Hyperexcitability in Fragile X Syndrome

Ever wonder why your child with Fragile X suddenly screams for no apparent reason or jumps and flaps uncontrollably seemingly for hours? You got it: hyperexcitability. But what exactly causes it? And what can fix it? Kimberly Huber, PhD, is working long and hard in her lab to answer those questions. Dr. Huber, professor, Neuroscience, UT Southwestern Medical Center, is seeking to understand how FMRP regulates connections between brain cells, called synapses, and the function of brain circuits, which are several connected brain cells.

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Fragile X Treatment: New Research Directions

Fragile X Treatment: New Research Directions

In the wake of negative results from several high-profile clinical trials in Fragile X, we find ourselves questioning many of our previous assumptions about the nature of this disorder. After all, understanding the basic pathology of disease is critical to development of new treatments — this is true across the board, in all branches of medicine.

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Functional Interplay Between FMRP and CDK5 Signaling

With a $180,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation over 2011-2014, Dr. Yue Feng and Dr. Wenqi Li at Emory University will study CDK5 pathway function and regulation in an effort to break down whether and how CDK5 signaling is affected by the loss of the Fragile X protein, FMRP, in the Fragile X mouse model.

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Why Did Fragile X Clinical Trials of mGluR Antagonists Fail?

Why Did Fragile X Clinical Trials of mGluR Antagonists Fail?

by Michael Tranfaglia, MD. In my opinion, the Fragile X clinical trials of AFQ056 sponsored by Novartis failed because of a dose range that was inadequate for Fragile X, and because of the unexpected development of tolerance.

Andy and MIke TranfagliaRead more

Fragile X Clinical Trial: Novartis Trial Results Are In, and They’re Not Pretty

This year’s Gordon Conference just finished, and Novartis presented their results for the first time (though advisors and advocates had been given a private peak months ago.) To say that the trial results for AFQ056 were disappointing would be the understatement of the century!

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