Fragile X Treatment Target Emerges from Neurolixis & FRAXA Collaboration

A new treatment target for Fragile X syndrome has emerged from multiple research labs and a pharmaceutical startup. Neurolixis, a FRAXA pharma partner, has announced a new Fragile X development program.

A new treatment target for Fragile X syndrome has emerged from multiple research labs and a pharmaceutical startup. Neurolixis, a FRAXA pharma partner, has announced a new Fragile X development program.

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Fragile X Clinical Trial of New PDE4D Inhibitor from Tetra

With a $200,043 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis completed a successful Phase 2 clinical trial of a PDE4 inhibitor for adult men with Fragile X syndrome. This trial treated 30 males, 18-45 years of age with a new PDE4D allosteric inhibitor from Tetra Discovery Partners using a crossover design, so that everyone got active drug for part of the time and placebo for part of the time.

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FMR1 Renamed to Fragile X Messenger Ribonucleoprotein 1

The efforts of the European Fragile X Network (EFXN) have led to the renaming of the FMR1 gene to “Fragile X Messenger Ribonucleoprotein 1” gene and the Fragile X protein, FMRP, to “Fragile X Messenger Ribonucleoprotein.” Families around the globe are celebrating the news as a significant step forward for acceptance and the removal of a term that evokes many negative feelings.

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Tetra’s Fragile X Clinical Trial – The Most Successful So Far

Dr. Mark Gurney, CEO of Tetra Therapeutics, discusses how one of the earliest clues to the biology of Fragile X led to the most successful Fragile X clinical trial to date. FRAXA and Tetra began working together after a key FRAXA-funded study caught the attention of Dr. Gurney. Through the FRAXA Drug Validation Initiative, Dr. Patricia Cogram was able to conduct preclinical validation experiments with Tetra’s lead compound in record time, paving the way for clinical trials.

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Pivotal Phase 3 Trial of Zygel in Severe Fragile X Possible This Year

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals reported receiving advice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the design of an upcoming Phase 3 clinical trial meant to confirm previous trial findings supporting  Zygel as a cannabidiol treatment in a specific subset of Fragile X syndrome patients. The new trial, called RECONNECT, is expected to launch before October, and will mainly enroll children and adolescents with a complete (100%) methylation of FMR1, the gene mutated in Fragile X.

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Cellular-Specific Therapeutic Targeting of Inhibitory Circuits in Fragile X Syndrome

Studies have shown that the function of inhibitory networks is disturbed in Fragile X. This abnormality is not well understood but appears to be secondary to abnormalities in metabotropic glutamate and endocannabinoid systems. With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. Molly Huntsman’s team examined how these networks interact and how inhibitory deficits can best be remedied.

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Auditory Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome in a Mouse Model of Fragile X

Elizabeth MCullough and Achim Klug

With a $90,000 grant from FRAXA, Dr. McCullagh and Dr. Achem Klug at the University of Colorado investigated whether auditory neural circuits are altered in Fragile X mice. They saw minor differences in these mice compared to B6 (control) mice in several measures of auditory acuity. Fmr1 mice had increased latency to the startle response for almost all conditions compared to B6 mice, suggesting altered timing to acoustic cues. These experiments show that, consistent with patient reports and anatomical/physiological data, the auditory system is altered in a mouse model of FXS, though with some potential compensation leading to a subtle behavioral impact.

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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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Integrating Human and Mouse Studies in Fragile X Syndrome – an NIH Center Approach

Presentations by:
Craig Erickson – Translational medicine and mechanistic studies of brain neurophysiology in Fragile X Syndrome: A NIH Center Overview
Ernest Pedapati – Network Mechanisms, Biomarkers, and Pharmacology of Fragile X Syndrome in Humans
Devin Binder – Network Mechanisms of Neurophysiology and Behavior in mouse models of Fragile X Syndrome
Kimberly Huber – FMRP Regulation of local and long-range neocortical circuits in the mouse: Links with EEG phenotypes

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Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X Receive $25 Million Over Next 5 Years

National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced funding for three Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X. The centers will receive $25 million over the next 5 years. Funding for the centers comes from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

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