Arbaclofen Returns After 7 Years!

Arbaclofen Returns After 7 Years!

Allos Pharma Inc, a late-stage pharmaceutical company developing therapeutics for neurodevelopmental disorders, has announced the exclusive license rights on IP and documentation for arbaclofen in fragile X syndrome (FXS).

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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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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

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

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

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.

Elizabeth MCullough and Achim KlugRead more

FRAXA Biotech Games, It Can Only Happen in an Open Community

FRAXA Biotech Games, It Can Only Happen in an Open Community

The FRAXA Biotech Games exploded onto Cambridge Crossing with a capacity crowd. What was immediately obvious was the genuine camaraderie and mutual support of the biotech community and its many vendors to help raise awareness of and funds for research on Fragile X, the most common inherited cause of autism and intellectual disabilities.

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FXS Patients’ Social Deficits are Linked to Social Anxiety, Eye-tracking Study Says

FXS Patients’ Social Deficits are Linked to Social Anxiety, Eye-tracking Study Says

Dr. Craig Erickson and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati used eye-tracking technology to understand sociability in Fragile X syndrome. This study affirms what so many parents, caretakers, and educators suspect: people with fragile X want to be social, and it is anxiety – not lack of interest – which usually hold them back. If anxiety could be reduced, more sociability would likely follow. Dr. Erickson is a Fragile X expert and FRAXA investigator who is currently conducting a Fragile X clinical trial of an investigational new drug.

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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.”

Todd-HaenflerRead more

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.

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

Metformin, Diabetes Drug, Potential Fragile X Treatment

Metformin, Diabetes Drug, Potential Fragile X Treatment

“We treated mice with metformin and corrected all the core Fragile X deficits. We are optimistic about using metformin in human clinical trials. This is a generic drug with few side effects” says Nahum Sonenberg, PhD, James McGill Professor, Department of Biochemistry, McGill Cancer Center, McGill University.

Nahum Sonenberg, PhD, 2017 Fragile X Research GrantRead more

TD Bank invites Friends of FRAXA to Watch the Bruins

TD Bank invites Friends of FRAXA to Watch the Bruins

Fifty friends of FRAXA enjoyed an amazing night at the TD Garden in Boston on March 30. They gathered to watch the Boston Bruins take on the Dallas Stars. It was a great opportunity for us to unite the greater Boston Fragile X community. We were able to convene and thank some of our local families and introduce them to university and biotech scientists who are working to find a cure for Fragile X. The night was made available by a generous donation of the Garden View Room by TD Bank.

Friends of FRAXA, Bob Sweeney, President of the Boston Bruins FoundationRead more

Fragile X Research Tackles High Anxiety – Peter Vanderklish

Fragile X Research Tackles High Anxiety – Peter Vanderklish

Yes, we all know the signs of Fragile X anxiety: Ears begin turning red followed by incessant pacing, heavy breathing, stiffening body, flapping, jumping, avoidance or yelling. Sometimes, it’s the more severe screaming, pinching, scratching, biting and general tearing things up or, worse, the nuclear meltdown.

Fragile X researchers tackle AnxietyRead more

Turning 22 with Fragile X Syndrome – What’s Next?

Turning 22 with Fragile X Syndrome – What’s Next?

Twenty-two is a terrifying birthday for the parent of a child with Fragile X Syndrome. It marks the end of formal schooling. We were daunted by this transition. Our son, Ryan, had been attending a residential school, New England Center for Children, for the previous 12 years. For almost all his waking hours, Ryan had one-on-one staffing and five additional staff nearby in case of behavioral outbursts. On community outings he was usually accompanied by at least three staff members. Now we were about to move him to Shared Living Collaborative (SLC) where he would have just one-to-one daytime staffing and two-to-one staffing in his residential placement, with no immediate, additional staff for help during a behavioral incident. We were tense and on edge about how this new arrangement would work.

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Meltdown no more? Targeting Hypersensitivity in Fragile X

Meltdown no more? Targeting Hypersensitivity in Fragile X

We’ve all been there. Our child with Fragile X hears something and becomes excited. Very excited. Hand flapping follows with non-stop jumping and ear-piercing squawking. Nothing helps. No meds. No iPhone. No magic toy. Several minutes go by. Sometimes longer. How many times have you apologized in a grocery store — or restaurant — or at the mall? Wouldn’t it make our lives better if this unpredictable excitability was minimalized or eliminated? That’s the premise behind research being conducted at University of California, Riverside. Principal Investigator Khaleel Razak, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow Jonathan W. Lovelace, PhD, are studying mice genetically altered to mimic the genetic characteristics of humans with Fragile X Syndrome.

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Researcher David Nelson, PhD, Explores New Cell Strategies for Fragile X Syndrome, FXTAS and FXPOI

Researcher David Nelson, PhD, Explores New Cell Strategies for Fragile X Syndrome, FXTAS and FXPOI

It’s rare to find a researcher working on the Big Three — Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), Fragile X-associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS) and Fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI). Then again, David Nelson, PhD, is the rare bird. Nelson is a professor of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, and director of Baylor’s Graduate Program in Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences. He has been involved in FXS research since the late 1980s where he helped identify the mutation and the FMR1 gene. These days, researchers in Nelson’s lab at Baylor are studying FXS, FXTAS and FXPOI using mouse models.

David Nelson labRead more

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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Novartis Discontinues Development of mavoglurant (AFQ056) for Fragile X Syndrome

Novartis has announced that the company will be discontinuing its development program in Fragile X for its lead mGluR5 antagonist, mavoglurant (AFQ056), following negative results in a large international clinical trial in adults (reported in the Fall of 2013) and most recently, in a trial in adolescents. In both placebo-controlled trials, patients taking mavoglurant did not show improvement over placebo in any outcome measures. Novartis has also announced that the current open-label extension phase of the trial will be closed, but patients will be allowed to continue on the medication until their next scheduled clinic visit, or August 29, whichever comes first.

FRAXA Research Foundation logoRead more

Matrix Metalloproteinase Therapeutic Treatments for Fragile X Syndrome

Matrix Metalloproteinase Therapeutic Treatments for Fragile X Syndrome

With a $157,000 grant from the FRAXA Research Foundation in 2012-2013, Dr. Kendal Broadie and Dr. Cheryl Gatto worked to define the distinct but also overlapping roles for MMP-1 and MMP-2 in synaptic structural and functional development. In drug studies with Fragile X fruit flies, they will be testing a range of MMPIs in drug treatments to compare effectiveness during development and at maturity, in order to define the contributions of FXS developmental impairments and adult recovery/plasticity.

Kendal BroadieRead more

GABAergic Inhibitory Function in Fragile X Syndrome

GABAergic Inhibitory Function in Fragile X Syndrome

With a $100,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Drs. Joshua Corbin and Molly Huntsman from the Children’s National Medical Center examined the role of a particular class of brain cells (inhibitory interneurons) that dampen excessive activity in the “emotional center of the brain” (the amydala). This inhibition is deficient in Fragile X, and so they are looking for ways to remedy this. This is particularly interesting to parents of children who are overly anxious and emotional. They worked with Dr. Walter Kaufmann, a clinician at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland.

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The Role of FMRP and Small, Non-Coding RNAs in Translation

The Role of FMRP and Small, Non-Coding RNAs in Translation

With a $120,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation, Drs. Henri Tiedge and Jun Zhong studied the mechanisms by which local protein translation is repressed. Multiple parallel mechanisms keep protein synthesis in check; one of them involves FMRP, and a similar mechanism involves the non-coding RNA, BC1. Results published.

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