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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.


Heterotrifunctional chemical crosslinking mass spectrometry confirms physical interaction between human frataxin and ISU

The progressive neurodegenerative disease Friedreich's ataxia is caused by a decreased level of expression of frataxin, a putative iron chaperone. Frataxin is thought to transiently interact with ISU, the scaffold protein onto which iron-sulfur clusters are assembled, to deliver ferrous iron.

Read More: Heterotrifunctional chemical crosslinking mass spectrometry confirms physical interaction between human frataxin and ISU

Management and therapy for cardiomyopathy in Friedreich's ataxia

The autosomal-recessive disorder Friedreich's ataxia is characterized by progressive ataxia, often in association with cardiomyopathy. The most frequent cause of death is cardiac dysfunction, reflecting congestive heart failure, ventricular arrhythmias and cardio-embolic stroke. With the discovery of the underlying genetic mutation, a variety of novel therapies are now progressing into clinical trials.

Read More: Management and therapy for cardiomyopathy in Friedreich's ataxia

Analysis of the structural and mechanistic factors in antioxidants that preserve mitochondrial function and confer cytoprotection

Selected pyridinol analogues of the experimental neuroprotective drug idebenone have been synthesized and evaluated as antioxidants capable of preserving mitochondrial function. The compounds, having a different redox core but the same side chain as idebenone, exhibited a range of potencies, reflecting differences in their structures.

Read More: Analysis of the structural and mechanistic factors in antioxidants that preserve mitochondrial function and confer cytoprotection

Skeletal muscle involvement in friedreich ataxia and potential effects of recombinant human erythropoietin administration on muscle regeneration and neovascularization

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is caused by reduced expression of the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Cardiac muscle involvement has been attributed to mitochondrial dysfunction, but involvement of skeletal muscle has not been fully investigated. Improved motor skills in FRDA patients after administration of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhuEPO) have been reported. To elucidate the characteristics of skeletal muscle in FRDA and assess the potential effects of rhuEPO on skeletal muscle neovascularization and regeneration, 7 genetically confirmed FRDA patients underwent biopsy of the gastrocnemius muscle before and after administration of 3,000 international units of rhuEPO 3 times per week for 2 months.

Read More: Skeletal muscle involvement in friedreich ataxia and potential effects of recombinant human erythropoietin administration on muscle regeneration and neovascularization

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

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