Autism drug to be tested on children

(50 Posts)
CFSKate Thu 14-Mar-13 10:38:00

"Preliminary results show that the drug called suramin, which is already used to treat sleeping sickness in Africa, corrects autism-like symptoms in mice.

At the molecular level, it normalises faulty brain connections, cell-to-cell signalling, and metabolic effects thought to underlie the disorder.

Professor Robert Naviaux, co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Centre at the University of California in San Diego, said: 'Our theory suggests that autism happens because cells get stuck in a defensive metabolic mode and fail to talk to each other normally, which can interfere with brain development and function.

'We used a class of drugs that has been around for almost a century to treat other diseases to block the 'danger' signal in a mouse model, allowing cells to return to normal metabolism and restore cell communication.'
Professor Naviaux and his team believe both genetic and environmental causes of autism can be traced to a sustained cell danger response linked to immunity and inflammation.

'When cells are exposed to classical forms of dangers such as a virus, infection or toxic environmental substance, a defence mechanism is activated,' said the professor.

'This results in changes to metabolism and gene expression (activity) and reduces the communication between neighbouring cells. Simply put, when cells stop talking to each other, children stop talking.'"

OP’s posts: |
AmberLeaf Thu 14-Mar-13 10:49:54

Think I'd pass on that personally.

I know they mention genetic autism, but it seems to be treating what they view as an environmental cause?

My son didn't 'develop' autism, he was born with it.

I'd be interested to see the outcome of any human trial though.

PolterGoose Thu 14-Mar-13 12:11:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UnChartered Thu 14-Mar-13 12:17:00

was thinking the same as Polter

also wondering what the DM have against autism? they are 'reporting' a new 'cure' on an almost weekly basis

bochead Thu 14-Mar-13 12:17:42


I hate the education system, but love my son partly because of his quirks!

As my gut feeling is that it's his brain's hardwired genetics, I'm not sure this drug would suit his specific needs. I can see how those who think their child's issues are purely biochemical in origin might be interested though.

Given the difficulties in diagnosing humans, & the huge range of the spectrum, how are we supposed to trust the diagnosis of mice? (walks off stratching her head)

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:20:45

I guess they can't talk!

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:21:46

Yep. Lets inject all the kids who don't fit the current education model.

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Mar-13 12:22:53

Yes my first thought was to wonder about 'autism like symptoms in mice' hmmmm

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 14-Mar-13 12:24:59

I would worry that even if this injection DID do something to help people with autism, we are focussing too much on the individual and not society.

As some of you know, I believe my ds' autism was caused by appalling antenatal care and a mismanaged birth affecting the chemical balance in my ds' brain and oxytocin in particular. I think improving conditions for labouring women would reduce the incidences of at least one type of autism, but not if we could continue to brutally assult women at their most vulnerable time and simply jab the child if he's not talking by 2.

PolterGoose Thu 14-Mar-13 12:26:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

willowthecat Thu 14-Mar-13 12:26:58

There isn't really enough information to go on in the article but might try to follow it up to find the real story - it's not as crazy as sounds though, scientists in edinburgh have done work to reverse effects of retts syndrome and they used mice brains too - but obviously autism not as well defined in genetic terms

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 14-Mar-13 13:47:45

I was really pleased to read this - must admit I have always though my son's autism is a) genetic and b) to do with mis-wiring in his brain. My feeling is that if we can control things like depression and schizophrenia with medication, then why not autism, one day.

I would try anything (once tested properly) that would improve my son's quality of life. Have always felt that any "cure" may come one day from science

And must admit I don't feel bad at all about wanting to change or mitigate his autism - it's pretty severe.

chocjunkie Thu 14-Mar-13 13:48:24

I came across this article while ago about a drug trial for frag x (on humans, not on mice). not sure though if they are talking about the same drug though.

cansu Thu 14-Mar-13 13:58:16

I too am very pleased to read this. If a drug can be find that even slightly alleviates the symptoms of autism I think this would be very positive for my own family.

willowthecat Thu 14-Mar-13 14:01:22

This is the original article - I am not scientific enough to really understand it though. Looks very interesting news though and as it is a well established drug (for sleeping sickness) that should speed up the trials process

zzzzz Thu 14-Mar-13 14:01:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Thu 14-Mar-13 14:03:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

willowthecat Thu 14-Mar-13 14:04:23

I think if the child is cognitively able and verbal (ASD) then it's going to raise very different issues than when child has learning difficulties associated with autism -after all, babies get tested for PKU so they can be given treatment to prevent learning difficulties.

zzzzz Thu 14-Mar-13 14:10:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

saintlyjimjams Thu 14-Mar-13 14:22:26

Well ds1 developed autism after a viral infection and is very severely autistic - cannot talk at the age of 13, so yep I'd be interested. Not sure I'd want him to be a guinea pig really, and I would prefer there to be a better understanding of a) potential side effects and b) whether they are matching the type of autism with the drug. I don't want to try him on a drug and risk side effects if it's never likely to work because he has the 'wrong' type of autism.

DS1 has made it very clear he would like to be rid of certain aspects of his autism so I feel I owe it to him to look into.

PolterGoose Thu 14-Mar-13 14:27:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 14-Mar-13 14:51:11

Well I would definately inject all of ds' problems and vulnerability if I could, but I would not support this 'solution' as an excuse to refuse to address what could have caused them iyswim.

bochead Thu 14-Mar-13 15:18:25

OK I've narrowed down my issues

1/ Exactly what "type" of ASD does it cure? (given I'm convinced there are at least 20, each with differing causal factors from birth issues/enviroment/brain injury/viral right thru to genetics).

2/ Autistic Mice - purleese - get a grip! confused. Refer to number 1.
Monkey research I can accept, given the ethics of human experimentation but mice?

saintlyjimjams Thu 14-Mar-13 15:19:57

Yes I have big issues with 1/ bochead

Fewer issues with 2/ as mouse models are used quite a lot in autism research now

saintlyjimjams Thu 14-Mar-13 15:20:27

And yes agree with that as well starlight

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