Fragile X Syndrome is the leading cause of inherited mental illness, ranging from learning disabilities to more severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities, including autism. Connecticut pharmaceutical company Marinus, Inc. has developed the synthetic neurosteroid Ganaxolone for the treatment of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), epilepsy, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now researchers at UC Davis have been awarded a $3 Million molecular biology research grant by the Department of Defense to study the effects of the drug on FXS specifically.
Ganaxolone is the synthetic analog of the neurosteroid allopregnanolone, a metabolite of progesterone. Unlike natural steroids, Maurinus' drug does not seem to produce classical hormonal side effects. Clinical trials for the use of ganaxalone in PTSD are also being funded by the DoD, with results due in 2012.
Dr. Randi Hagerman (shown here with co-researcher Paul Hagerman, photo courtesy of UCDHS) is the medical director of the Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) and also heads MIND's Fragile X Research and Treatment Center. Lead by molecular biologists including Dr. Hagerman, the FX Center also includes the collaborative efforts of specialists in pediatrics, molecular genetics, psychiatry, psychology, neurology, genetic counseling, speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, neurobiology, pathology and social work.
The $3M DoD Fragile X Syndrome research award was given to Dr. Hagerman and two of her colleagues: Dr. David Hessl, psychophysiologist, also of the MIND Institute; and Dr. Michael Rogawski, an epilepsy researcher and Chairman of the Department of Neurology. All three researchers have their labs on the UC Davis Health Center Campus located in Sacramento. Components of the Health Center include the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
(Photo of Sacramento campus courtesy of UCDHS)
If you are a supplier of molecular biology research laboratory equipment, a researcher, purchaser, or lab manager, come to Biotechnology Calendar's Sacramento BioResearch Product Faire™ Event this June 15 on the UC Davis Campus in Sacramento.