A possible groundbreaking research says there could be a drug that may help children with autism- something that caught the strong interest of researchers and families of children with autism given that there are still no FDA approved treatments for the disorder or its symptoms to this date.
Dr. Robert Naviaux MD, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics at the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology, and Co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center from UC San Diego School of Medicine suspected that the cause of autism might be metabolic dysfunction, where the energy molecule ATP is “outside” cells. He went through researching over two thousand drugs and discovered one that might help deal with autism. He identified that drug as Suramin.
Dr. Naviaux tested one dose in a clinical trial of ten boys. Five of the boys got the drug. Naviaux shared that after the experiments, “Children began to talk sometimes for the first time in sentences in their life.”
Boys who received the said drug had also seen their autism severity scores drop from eight-point-sex to seven, the lowest point on the spectrum. They also showed improvements in social, language and fine motor skills, and also found relief from repetitive motions and fragmented sleep.
Dr. Naviaux also shared other positive developments in the children: “Some children had learned to tie their shoes for the first time, and other children had learned to zip up a jacket. Those fine motor skills were the motor memory that had been retained.”
As welcome and promising the findings so far, the research is just in its initial stage. Dr. Naviaaux says there will be several phases two trials to determine safety and efficacy for the drug, Suramin. He thinks it will take another three to five years phase before the third phase trial starts.
The CDC estimates one in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.
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