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Autism Speaks trailblazer study -- Blocking cell distress signals can ease autism symptoms
Date:3/14/2013

New York, N.Y. (March 14, 2013) Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced a study supported by one of Autism Speaks' first Suzanne and Bob Wright Trailblazer Awards, presents a new theory that autism may result from chronic danger signaling by mitochondria, cell structures that supply our cells with energy. This study by Trailblazer researcher and mitochondrial medicine specialist Robert Naviaux, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego published in the journal PLOS-ONE supports a novel theory about the cause and potential treatment of autism. The theory is that a chronic "cell danger response" can interfere with brain development and function. Using a mouse model of autism, the researchers blocked the abnormal cell danger signals using a chemical compound. Doing so reversed the signs and symptoms of autism in the animal's brains and behavior.

In 2010, Autism Speaks awarded Dr. Naviaux one a Trailblazer award to test his theory that it might be possible to reverse autism by blocking chronic cell danger signaling. The Suzanne and Bob Wright Trailblazer Award program supports novel, "out of the box" research with the potential to transform the field of autism research.

"Breakthroughs in the development of new treatment approaches for autism are going emerge from innovative theories, and trailblazing research, like that of Naviaux's team," says Autism Speaks Vice President for Translational Research Robert Ring, Ph.D. "Although these findings still need to be expanded and confirmed before they make their way into clinical trials, this line of work emphasizes how Autism Speaks will leave no stone unturned in our search for ways to convert scientific innovation into applications that transform outcomes for individuals with autism."

Several years ago, Dr. Naviaux proposed that cell structures, called mitochondria, play a broad role in the development of autism. Mi
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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