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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.

 


 

Overexpression of Drosophila frataxin triggers cell death in an iron-dependent manner

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) patients display severe neurological and cardiac symptoms that reflect a strong cellular and axonal degeneration. FRDA is caused by a loss of function of the mitochondrial protein frataxin, which impairs the biosynthesis of iron-sulfur clusters and in turn the catalytic activity of several enzymes in the Krebs cycle and the respiratory chain leading to a diminished energy production. Although FRDA is due to frataxin depletion, making too much frataxin in cells may help to understand cellular functions of frataxin. In this work, the authors have increased frataxin expression in neurons to figure out specific roles that frataxin might play in these tissues. They report that frataxin overexpression is sufficient to increase oxidative phosphorylation, modify mitochondrial morphology, alter iron homeostasis and trigger oxidative stress-dependent cell death. Interestingly, genetic manipulation of mitochondrial iron metabolism successfully improved cell survival under oxidative-attack conditions, although enhancing antioxidant defenses or mitochondrial fusion failed to ameliorate frataxin overexpression phenotypes. This result suggests that cell degeneration may be directly related to enhanced incorporation of iron into the mitochondria.

Read more HERE

Part 2 of the Phase II MOXIe study (RTA 408 or omaveloxolone)

FARA is excited to share news that Part 2 of the Phase II MOXIe study (RTA 408 or omaveloxolone), sponsored by Reata, is open, and needs 100 individuals with FA to participate. This is a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of omaveloxolone (RTA 408) 150 mg in patients with Friedreich's ataxia. Participants will be randomized 1:1 to either receive omaveloxolone (RTA 408) 150 mg or placebo.

This is an international study with sites in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Please review the study flyer below, if you are interested in the study or have questions about the study, we encourage you identify the site that is geographically closest to you and contact the study coordinator.
 


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Cerebral Abnormalities in Friedreich Ataxia: A Review

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an inherited degenerative disorder affecting multiple systems of the body and resulting in symptoms which include progressive ataxia, dysarthria, and cardiomyopathy. Central nervous system pathology has been traditionally ascribed to the spinal cord and dentate nucleus of the cerebellum. However, cerebral abnormalities in FRDA are being increasingly documented via multiple neuroimaging techniques. Understanding the nature and implications of cerebral abnormalities in FRDA provides more comprehensive knowledge of nervous system involvement in this disorder and increases the prospects of identifying effective treatment targets. We review the cerebellar and the cerebral involvement with a focus on the emerging in vivo human neuroimaging findings suggesting wide-spread cerebral involvement, including aberrant cerebellar-cerebral connectivity. We synthesise the findings by proposing potential mechanisms that may drive these effects. Finally, we identify future research directions which, we argue, will lead to a better understanding of the extent and potential mechanisms of cerebral aberrations in FRDA.

Read more HERE

Jupiter Orphan Therapeutics Receives Orphan Drug Designation for its Trans-Resveratrol Product JOTROL for Treatment of Friedreich's Ataxia

Jupiter Orphan Therapeutics, Inc. ("JOT"), Jupiter, FL, today announced that it has received notification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that its Orphan Drug Designation request for trans-Resveratrol has been granted.

"Orphan Drug Designation serves as an important milestone for JOT as it positions our JOTROL™ product as a potential treatment for FA. We are hopeful that JOTROL™ can ultimately provide a meaningful treatment for FA patients around the world based on the earlier Phase II trial, utilizing resveratrol, conducted by our partner Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia ("MCRI"). That trial was an open label trial and generated very encouraging results, where 4 out of 5 very important endpoints were met. We, JOT together with MCRI, expect to repeat these results through a larger placebo controlled study utilizing JOTROL™ to avoid the Gastro Intestinal (GI) tolerability issues. This will hopefully lead to market approval in several territories, including USA" said Chief Executive Officer, Christer Rosén of JOT.

Read more HERE

Selected missense mutations impair frataxin processing in Friedreich ataxia

Frataxin (FXN) is a highly conserved mitochondrial protein. Reduced FXN levels cause Friedreich ataxia, a recessive neurodegenerative disease. Typical patients carry GAA repeat expansions on both alleles, while a subgroup of patients carry a missense mutation on one allele and a GAA repeat expansion on the other. This article reports that selected disease-related FXN missense mutations impair FXN localization, interaction with mitochondria processing peptidase, and processing.

The group found that FXNI154F and FXNG130V missense mutations decrease FXN 81-210 levels compared with FXNWT, FXNR165C, and FXNW155R, but do not block its association with mitochondria. FXNI154F and FXNG130V also impair FXN maturation and enhance the binding between FXN 42-210 and mitochondria processing peptidase. Furthermore, blocking proteosomal degradation does not increase FXN 81-210 levels. Additionally, impaired FXN processing also occurs in fibroblasts from patients with FXNG130V. Finally, clinical data from patients with FXNG130V and FXNI154F mutations demonstrates a lower severity compared with other individuals with Friedreich ataxia.

These data suggest that the effects on processing associated with FXNG130V and FXNI154F mutations lead to higher levels of partially processed FXN, which may contribute to the milder clinical phenotypes in these patients.

Read more HERE

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