The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded a $9.5 million grant to the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), a New England Council member, to establish a Center for Collaborative Research on campus. The research center will focus on studying Fragile X, the most common form of intellectual and developmental disability, in an effort to work towards an effective treatment.
UMass Medical’s Joel D. Richter, a professor of Molecular Medicine, will lead a team of accomplished professors from around the country, as well as others within UMMS, to explore the underlying molecular basis of the Fragile X disorder. According to Richter, Fragile X comes from a single inactive gene which causes an increase of protein in the brain. Research will focus on how balancing that protein may reverse the disorder. The research center that will operate at UMMS is one of three in the country that will be created through a total of $35 million in grants awarded by the NIH.
“In previous studies we’ve shown that we can reverse or rescue the Fragile X syndrome and restore nearly normal behavior and certain biochemical abnormalities in mice,” Richter said in a statement. “We want to investigate how this process works initially in mice and then in humans, which will hopefully lead to new treatments for this disease.”
The New England Council congratulates UMass Medical School on receiving the grant award, and thanks its talented professors and students for their diligent work towards finding treatments for conditions such as Fragile X.