You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Fresh Autism hope as scientists reveal cancer drug could 'reverse symptoms'

Daily Record logoDaily Record 25/06/2018 Rod Minchin
Cancer trial drugs reversed most of the behavioural deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder © Getty Images Cancer trial drugs reversed most of the behavioural deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder

Scientists have discovered a possible treatment to reverse a genetic form of autism - by using cancer drugs.

Researchers have discovered that an experimental drug can potentially treat and even permanently reverse the symptoms associated with a genetic form of autism spectrum disorder .

The lack of a protein called ERK1 in people with a missing region on chromosome 16 leads to an abnormal activation of another protein - ERK2.

Cancer trial drugs used to make ERK2 to reach the brain restored normal brain function in mice.

It also reversed most of the behavioural deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder.

ERK1 and ERK2 proteins are currently major targets for cancer therapy trials.

a tall building in a city: Research has been carried out Cardiff University © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Research has been carried out Cardiff University

publicity pics

NHS Scotland staff set for 9 per cent pay rise over next three years

Professor Riccardo Brambilla, from Cardiff University , said: "By limiting the function of the protein that appears to cause autism symptoms in people with the chromosome 16 defect, the trial drug not only provided symptomatic relief when administered to adult mice, but also prevented genetically predisposed mice from being born with the form of autism spectrum disorder, when administered to the mother during gestation.

"While it wouldn't be feasible to treat pregnant women who have been screened for autism, it could be possible, in principle, to permanently reverse the disorder by treating a child as early as possible after birth.

"In the case of adults with the condition, ongoing medication would probably be required to treat symptoms."

There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK.

It is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

The research was carried out using mice and monitoring the effect of the drug on their brains and behaviour.

The drugs used are experimental and cannot yet be used in humans.

The next step is to develop new drugs to test in trials for autism spectrum disorder patients affected by the chromosome 16 defect.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Record

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon