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Clinical Trial Examines Novel Therapy for ASD

By Stacy W. Kish on November 27, 2012


Background: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) describes a group of symptoms associated with abnormal brain development. Three symptoms—repetitive behaviors, awkward social interactions, and difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication—dominate ASD. Recent research suggests that ASD is associated with a hyperactive immune system. The studies point to the presence of autoantibodies and elevated levels of pro-inflammatory molecules in blood samples from autism patients.


What’s new: Coronado Biosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company in Massachusetts, announced the initiation of a clinical trial to treat adults with ASD. The clinical trial, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is focused on the effect of TSO (Trichuris suis ova) on ASD symptoms. TSO is an egg of the porcine whipworm that naturally regulates pro-inflammatory molecules. Patients will receive either TSO or a placebo during the 28-week trial (12-weeks treatment, 4-weeks wash-out period, and 12-weeks treatment). The egg is harmless to the patient who passes it several weeks after dosing.


Why it’s important: This study builds on animal studies that examined the link between inflammation and altered neurodevelopment. It offers a natural therapy to treat the symptoms of ASD in people with autism. The scientists believe TSO will be beneficial in the treatment of repetitive behaviors, irritability, and social cognition in adults with ASD.

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