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FARAFARA Cure FA

 

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.

 


 

Friedreich ataxia induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons show a cellular phenotype that is corrected by a benzamide HDAC inhibitor

We employed induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons obtained from Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) patients and healthy subjects, FRDA neurons and CT neurons, respectively, to unveil phenotypic alterations related to frataxin (FXN) deficiency and investigate if they can be reversed by treatments that upregulate FXN. FRDA and control iPSCs were equally capable of differentiating into a neuronal or astrocytic phenotype. FRDA neurons showed lower levels of iron-sulfur and lipoic acid-containing proteins, higher labile iron pool (LIP), higher expression of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD2), increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lower reduced glutathione (GSH) levels, and enhanced sensitivity to oxidants compared to CT neurons, indicating deficient iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis, altered iron metabolism, and oxidative stress.

Read the entire article HERE

Functional and Gait Assessment in Children and Adolescents Affected by Friedreich's Ataxia: A One-Year Longitudinal Study

Friedreich's ataxia is the most common autosomal recessive form of neurodegenerative ataxia. We present a longitudinal study on the gait pattern of children and adolescents affected by Friedreich's ataxia using Gait Analysis and the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA). We assessed the spectrum of changes over 12 months of the gait characteristics and the relationship between clinical and instrumental evaluations. We enrolled 11 genetically confirmed patients affected by Friedreich's ataxia in this study together with 13 normally developing age-matched subjects. Eight patients completed a 12-month follow-up under the same protocol. By comparing the gait parameters of Friedreich's ataxia with the control group, we found significant differences for some relevant indexes. In particular, the increased knee and ankle extension in stance revealed a peculiar biomechanical pattern, which correlated reliably with SARA Total, Gait and Sitting scores.

Read the entire article HERE

Pharmacological treatments for Friedreich ataxia

OBJECTIVES:
To assess the effects of pharmacological treatments for Friedreich ataxia.

SEARCH METHODS:
On 29 February 2016 we searched The Cochrane Neuromuscular Specialised Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL Plus. On 7 March 2016 we searched ORPHANET and TRIP. We also checked clinical trials registers for ongoing studies.

SELECTION CRITERIA:
We considered randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs of pharmacological treatments (including vitamins) in people with genetically-confirmed Friedreich ataxia. The primary outcome was change in a validated Friedreich ataxia neurological score after 12 months. Secondary outcomes were changes in cardiac status as measured by magnetic resonance imaging or echocardiography, quality of life, mild and serious adverse events, and survival. We excluded trials of duration shorter than 12 months.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:
Three review authors selected trials and two review authors extracted data. We obtained missing data from the two RCTs that met our inclusion criteria. We collected adverse event data from included studies. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

Read the entire article HERE

Neurobehavioral deficits in the KIKO mouse model of Friedreich's ataxia

Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) is a pediatric neurodegenerative disease whose clinical presentation includes ataxia, muscle weakness, and peripheral sensory neuropathy. The KIKO mouse is an animal model of FA with frataxin deficiency first described in 2002, but neurobehavioral deficits have never been described in this model. The identification of robust neurobehavioral deficits in KIKO mice could support the testing of drugs for FA, which currently has no approved therapy. We tested 13 neurobehavioral tasks to identify a robust KIKO phenotype: Open Field, Grip Strength Test(s), Cylinder, Skilled Forelimb Grasp Task(s), Treadmill Endurance, Locotronic Motor Coordination, Inverted Screen, Treadscan, and Von Frey.

Read the entire article HERE

Serum versus Imaging Biomarkers in Friedreich Ataxia to Indicate Left Ventricular Remodeling and Outcomes

Patients with Friedreich ataxia typically die of cardiomyopathy, marked by myocardial fibrosis and abnormal left ventricular (LV) geometry. We measured procollagen I carboxyterminal propeptide (PICP), a serum biomarker of collagen production, and characterized genotypes, phenotypes, and outcomes in these patients. Twenty-nine patients with Friedreich ataxia (mean age, 34.2 ± 2.2 yr) and 29 healthy subjects (mean age, 32.5 ± 1.1 yr) underwent serum PICP measurements. Patients underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and outcome evaluations at baseline and 12 months.

Read the entire article HERE

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