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FARA Funded Research

Your generous support has funded all the research listed below.


For more information on FARA-funded research & scientists, please visit FARA Supported Research, Active Clinical Trials and the Featured Scientist.

Age of onset modulates resting-state brain network dynamics in Friedreich Ataxia

This magnetoencephalography (MEG) study addresses (i) how Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) affects the sub-second dynamics of resting-state brain networks, (ii) the main determinants of their dynamic alterations, and (iii) how these alterations are linked with FRDA-related changes in resting-state functional brain connectivity (rsFC) over long timescales. For that purpose, 5 min of resting-state MEG activity were recorded in 16 FRDA patients (mean age: 27 years, range: 12-51 years; 10 females) and matched healthy subjects. Transient brain network dynamics was assessed using hidden Markov modeling (HMM). Post hoc median-split, nonparametric permutations and Spearman rank correlations were used for statistics. In FRDA patients, a positive correlation was found between the age of symptoms onset (ASO) and the temporal dynamics of two HMM states involving the posterior default mode network (DMN) and the temporo-parietal junctions (TPJ). FRDA patients with an ASO 11 years or healthy subjects. The temporal dynamics of the DMN state also correlated with minute-long DMN rsFC. This study demonstrates that ASO is the main determinant of alterations in the sub-second dynamics of posterior associative neocortices in FRDA patients and substantiates a direct link between sub-second network activity and functional brain integration over long timescales.

Read the Full article here
 

Request For Proposals: Pharmacodynamic Biomarker Development

Request For Proposals: Pharmacodynamic Biomarker Development
FARA is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to support clinical drug development programs in Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA) by promoting the discovery of technologies to measure frataxin or surrogates of frataxin in inaccessible and disease relevant tissues.

This RFP supports the discovery and validation of non-invasive and quantitative methodologies to measure the following in FRDA affected tissues (brain, spinal cord or heart):
  • Frataxin protein levels
  • Biochemical activities dependent on/downstream of frataxin function that can be surrogates of frataxin in inaccessible tissues
Allowed budget will depend on stage and scope of research.

FARA will consider proof of concept and high-risk proposals, without preliminary data, provided they show a strong rationale for the proposed use and development of such biomarkers.

Informal inquiries regarding study relevance and interest to FARA are welcome and should be directed to grants@curefa.org.
Read the Full RFP

Please click below to submit a Letter of Intent.The LOI submission deadline is December 1, 2021.
Submit a Letter of Intent

 

Friedreich Ataxia: Multidisciplinary Clinical Care

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a multisystem disorder affecting 1 in 50,000-100,000 person in the United States. Traditionally viewed as a neurodegenerative disease, FRDA patients also develop cardiomyopathy, scoliosis, diabetes and other manifestation. Although it usually presents in childhood, it continues throughout life, thus requiring expertise from both pediatric and adult subspecialist in order to provide optimal management. The phenotype of FRDA is unique, giving rise to specific loss of neuronal pathways, a unique form of cardiomyopathy with early hypertrophy and later fibrosis, and diabetes incorporating components of both type I and type II disease. Vision loss, hearing loss, urinary dysfunction and depression also occur in FRDA. Many agents are reaching Phase III trials; if successful, these will provide a variety of new treatments for FRDA that will require many specialists who are not familiar with FRDA to provide clinical therapy. This review provides a summary of the diverse manifestation of FRDA, existing symptomatic therapies, and approaches for integrative care for future therapy in FRDA.

Read the Full article here

A Focus on "Bio" in Bio-Nanoscience: The Impact of Biological Factors on Nanomaterial Interactions

Bio-nanoscience research encompasses studies on the interactions of nanomaterials with biological structures or what is commonly referred to as the biointerface. Fundamental studies on the influence of nanomaterial properties, including size, shape, composition, and charge, on the interaction with the biointerface have been central in bio-nanoscience to assess nanomaterial efficacy and safety for a range of biomedical applications. However, the state of the cells, tissues, or biological models can also influence the behavior of nanomaterials at the biointerface and their intracellular processing. Focusing on the "bio" in bio-nano, this review discusses the impact of biological properties at the cellular, tissue, and whole organism level that influences nanomaterial behavior, including cell type, cell cycle, tumor physiology, and disease states. Understanding how the biological factors can be addressed or exploited to enhance nanomaterial accumulation and uptake can guide the design of better and suitable models to improve the outcomes of materials in nanomedicine.

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Iron-sulfur cluster deficiency can be sensed by IRP2 and regulates iron homeostasis and sensitivity to ferroptosis independent of IRP1 and FBXL5

Intracellular iron levels are strictly regulated to support homeostasis and avoid iron-mediated ROS production. Loss of iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) synthesis can increase iron loading and promote cell death by ferroptosis. Iron-responsive element-binding proteins IRP1 and IRP2 posttranscriptionally regulate iron homeostasis. IRP1 binding to target mRNAs is competitively regulated by ISC occupancy. However, IRP2 is principally thought to be regulated at the protein level via E3 ubiquitin ligase FBXL5-mediated degradation. Here, we show that ISC synthesis suppression can activate IRP2 and promote ferroptosis sensitivity via a previously unidentified mechanism. At tissue-level O2 concentrations, ISC deficiency enhances IRP2 binding to target mRNAs independent of IRP1, FBXL5, and changes in IRP2 protein level. Deletion of both IRP1 and IRP2 abolishes the iron-starvation response, preventing its activation by ISC synthesis inhibition. These findings will inform strategies to manipulate ferroptosis sensitivity and help illuminate the mechanism underlying ISC biosynthesis disorders, such as Friedreich's ataxia.

Read the Full article here

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