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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.


Unanswered Questions in Friedreich Ataxia

During the past 15 years, the pace of research advancement in Friedreich ataxia has been rapid. The abnormal gene has been discovered and its gene product characterized, leading to the development of new evidence-based therapies. Still, various unsettled issues remain that affect clinical trials. These include the level of frataxin deficiency needed to cause disease, the mechanism by which frataxin-deficient mitochondrial dysfunction leads to symptomatology, and the reason selected cells are most affected in Friedreich ataxia. In this review, we summarize these questions and propose testable hypotheses for their resolution.

Read More: Unanswered Questions in Friedreich Ataxia

Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Increase Anti-oxidant Defences in Cells Derived from Patients with Friedreich's Ataxia

Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which is, at present, incurable. Oxidative damage and inhibition of mitochondrial function are key determinants of cellular damage in FRDA, since there is greater sensitivity to oxidative stress in cells with frataxin deficiency. In addition, frataxin-deficient cells have an impaired ability to recruit antioxidant defences against endogenous oxidative stress.

Read More: Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Increase Anti-oxidant Defences in Cells Derived from Patients with Friedreich's Ataxia

Role of mismatch repair enzymes in GAA-TTC triplet-repeat expansion in Friedreich's ataxia induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)

The genetic mutation in Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA) is a hyper-expansion of the triplet-repeat sequence GAA-TTC within the first intron of the FXN gene. Although yeast and reporter construct models for GAA-TTC triplet-repeat expansion have been reported, studies in FRDA pathogenesis and therapeutic development are limited by the availability of an appropriate cell model in which to study the mechanism of instability of the GAA-TTC triplet repeats in the human genome.

Red More: Role of mismatch repair enzymes in GAA-TTC triplet-repeat expansion in Friedreich's ataxia induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)

Therapeutic Developments in Friedreich Ataxia

Friedreich ataxia is an inherited, severe, progressive neuro- and cardiodegenerative disorder for which there currently is no approved therapy. Friedreich ataxia is caused by the decreased expression and/or function of frataxin, a mitochondrial matrix protein that binds iron and is involved in the formation of iron-sulfur clusters. Decreased frataxin function leads to decreased iron-sulfur cluster formation, mitochondrial iron accumulation, cytosolic iron depletion, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Read More: Therapeutic Developments in Friedreich Ataxia

miR-886-3p Levels Are Elevated in Friedreich Ataxia

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is the most common inherited ataxia caused primarily by an intronic GAA.TTC triplet repeat expansion in the frataxin (FXN) gene. FXN RNA and protein levels are reduced in patients leading to progressive gait and limb ataxia, sensory loss, reduced tendon reflexes, dysarthria, absent lower limb reflexes, and loss of position and vibration sense. Neurological manifestations ensue from primary loss of dorsal root ganglia neurons and their associated axons ascending centrally in the spinal cord and peripherally in large myelinated nerves.

Read More: miR-886-3p Levels Are Elevated in Friedreich Ataxia

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