California Study to Probe Use of Drug for Autism Researchers will extensively test suramin—a century-old drug still used for African sleeping sickness—later this year for its effect on social function and interaction in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), after a small clinical trial showed early signs of effectiveness in 2017. In the study, conducted at the University of ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   December 01, 2018
California Study to Probe Use of Drug for Autism
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   December 01, 2018
California Study to Probe Use of Drug for Autism
The ASHA Leader, December 2018, Vol. 23, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB2.23122018.14
The ASHA Leader, December 2018, Vol. 23, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB2.23122018.14
Researchers will extensively test suramin—a century-old drug still used for African sleeping sickness—later this year for its effect on social function and interaction in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), after a small clinical trial showed early signs of effectiveness in 2017.
In the study, conducted at the University of California San Diego and the University of California, Los Angeles, 20 boys will receive three infusions of the drug over three months. Each will be paired with a similar boy in a control group who won’t get the drug.
Researchers expect to enroll boys age 5 to 15 in the trial, because ASD is far more prevalent in boys than girls. Girls will be included in later testing.
In the first suramin trial, five boys given a single infusion showed noticeable improvement in social interaction and function. That improvement faded over two months, although some skills—such as tying shoelaces and new reading words learned—remained.
The boys achieved new milestones such as actively engaging in a new language, social games (like tag), trying new foods, and taking on new interests in music, dance, sports and science. Two of the boys who were nonverbal spoke their first sentences after about one week.
Five boys who weren’t given the drug didn’t show significant improvement.
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December 2018
Volume 23, Issue 12