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

emical that blocks the mitochondria's extra-cellular signals. For comparison, another 84 mice received a dummy shot of saltwater. The suramin treatment restored socializing and motor coordination to normal levels. The researchers saw no such improvement in the mice injected with saltwater.

Later, the researchers examined the mice's brain tissue, looking for brain abnormalities associated with autism. These included abnormal cell connections (synapses) and high rates of cell death in an important class of neurons called Purkinje cells. They found elevated levels of all these abnormalities in the untreated mice. But they were not present in the mice treated with suramin.

In people, suramin can be used safely only for short periods, because it has potentially serious side effects. "Our hope was to test this compound first in mice, then in a small clinical trial that will use just a single dose to determine whether this class of drugs is a good direction for developing safe and effective treatments," Dr. Naviaux says.

"Autism Speaks is not endorsing the use of suramin at this time for treatment of ASD," added Dr. Ring. "This study is an interesting and important first step in the translational process from bench to bed side, seeking potential treatments to address the core symptoms of autism."


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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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