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Scientific News

FARA funds research progress

In this section, you will find the most recent FA research publications, many of which are funded by FARA, as well as information on upcoming conferences and symposiums. You can search for articles by date using the archive box in the right hand column. To locate FARA Funded or Supported Research, click the hyperlink in the right hand column. You may also search for specific content using key words or phrases in the search button at the top right of your screen. Please be sure to visit other key research sections of our website for information on FARA’s Grant Program and the Treatment Pipeline.

 


 

Save The Date - 2017 International Ataxia Research Conference

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Heterologous mitochondrial targeting sequences can deliver functional proteins into mitochondria

Mitochondrial Targeting Sequences (MTSs) are responsible for trafficking nuclear-encoded proteins into mitochondria. Once entering the mitochondria, the MTS is recognized and cleaved off. Some MTSs are long and undergo two-step processing, as in the case of the human frataxin (FXN) protein (80aa), implicated in Friedreich's ataxia (FA). Therefore, we chose the FXN protein to examine whether nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins can efficiently be targeted via a heterologous MTS (hMTS) and deliver a functional protein into mitochondria. We examined three hMTSs; that of citrate synthase (cs), lipoamide deydrogenase (LAD) and C6ORF66 (ORF), as classically MTS sequences, known to be removed by one-step processing, to deliver FXN into mitochondria, in the form of fusion proteins.

Read the entire article HERE

A longitudinal study of the SF-36 version 2 in Friedreich ataxia

OBJECTIVES: The Medical Outcomes Study 36 item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) is one of the most commonly used patient reported outcome measure. This study aimed to examine the relationship between SF-36 version 2 (SF-36V2) summary scores and Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) clinical characteristics, and to investigate the responsiveness of the scale, in comparison with the Friedreich Ataxia Rating Scale (FARS), over 1, 2 and 3 years.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Descriptive statistics were used to examine the characteristics of the cohort at baseline and years 1, 2 and 3. Correlations between FRDA clinical characteristics and SF-36V2 summary scores were reported. Responsiveness was measured using paired t tests.

RESULTS: We found significant correlations between the physical component summary (PCS) of the SF-36V2 and various FRDA clinical parameters but none for the mental component summary. No significant changes in the SF-36V2 were seen over 1 or 2 years; however, PCS scores at Year 3 were significantly lower than at baseline (-3.3, SD [7.6], P=.01). FARS scores were found to be significantly greater at Years 1, 2 and 3 when compared to baseline.

Read the entire article HERE

Progression of Friedreich ataxia: quantitative characterization over 5 years

OBJECTIVE: Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of adults and children. This study analyzed neurological outcomes and changes to identify predictors of progression and generate power calculations for clinical trials.

METHODS: Eight hundred and twelve subjects in a natural history study were evaluated annually across 12 sites using the Friedreich Ataxia Rating Scale (FARS), 9-Hole Peg Test, Timed 25-Foot Walk, visual acuity tests, self-reported surveys and disability scales. Cross-sectional outcomes were assessed from recent visits, and longitudinal changes were gaged over 5 years from baseline.

RESULTS: Cross-sectional outcomes correlated with measures of disease severity. Age, genetic severity (guanine-adenine-adenine [GAA] repeat length), and testing site predicted performance. Serial progression was relatively linear using FARS and composite measures of performance, while individual performance outcomes were nonlinear over time. Age strongly predicted change from baseline until removing the effects of baseline FARS scores, when GAA becomes a more important factor. Progression is fastest in younger subjects and subjects with longer GAA repeats. Improved coefficients of variation show that progression results are more reproducible over longer assessment durations.

Read the entire article HERE

Retrotope announces Phase I/II Clinical Trial Results of RT001 in Treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia

First-in-human trial achieves safety, tolerability, and PK goals, with early signals of efficacy

LOS ALTOS, CA, September 15, 2016 - Dr. Theresa Zesiewicz, principal investigator in Retrotope’s first-in-human clinical trial of RT001 in Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), today presented early results from Retrotope’s Phase I/II trial conducted at the University of South Florida Ataxia Research Center and the Collaborative NeuroSciences Network in Long Beach, CA. The trial, a randomized, double-blind, comparator controlled, two-dose study of RT001 in 18 FA patients for 28 days, met all of its primary safety, tolerability and pharmacodynamics (PK) goals. While biological activity was not a primary goal of the study, a number of clinically important activity measures were tested, found to be highly correlated to well-studied disease severity scales and showed multiple, unexpected, robust signals of drug effect at one or more doses.

Read the entire article HERE

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