Friday, June 20, 2014

Autism symptoms 'reversed' in mice by 100-year-old drug

An interesting finding reveals that a century-old drug, suramin , for African sleeping sickness has been used in a new study to reverse symptoms of autism in a mouse model.

 However, the biological and behavioral benefits of suramin were not permanent, nor preventive. A single dose remained effective in the mice for about five weeks, and then washed out. Moreover, suramin cannot be taken long-term since it can result in anemia and adrenal gland dysfunction. Still, Naviaux said these and earlier findings are sufficiently encouraging to soon launch a small phase 1 clinical trial with children who have ASD. He expects the trial to begin later this year. "Obviously correcting abnormalities in a mouse is a long way from a cure in humans, but we think this approach - antipurinergic therapy - is a new and fresh way to think about and address the challenge of autism. read more