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Anti-cancer drug improves autism-like behaviors in mouse experiments

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by AGXStarseed, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    (Not written by me)


    New research from the University at Buffalo has shown that an approved anticancer drug can significantly restore the social deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At this stage the effect has only been demonstrated in animal models, but this promising research could pave the way for a therapeutic drug that helps restore social and communication skills in people with ASD.

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    An FDA-approved anticancer drug has improved autism-related behavioral deficits in mouse experiments

    New research from the University at Buffalo has shown that an approved anticancer drug can significantly restore the social deficits associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At this stage the effect has only been demonstrated in animal models, but this promising research could pave the way for a therapeutic drug that helps restore social and communication skills in people with ASD.

    The new study focuses on a gene called Shank3. Previous research has revealed strong connections between deficiencies in Shank3 and the irregular behavioral patterns associated with ASD. Shank3 has been found to be vital in neuronal communications and mice engineered with inactive Shank3 genes have displayed autism-like behaviors including compulsive repetitive behavior and anxiety.

    The University at Buffalo study treated Shank3-deficient mice with a low-dose of romidepsin for just three days. Romidepsin is an FDA-approved anti-cancer drug that has been used to treat lymphomas for several years. After a short treatment the mice displayed significant social and behavioral improvements lasting up to three weeks. This duration of effect suggests a similar treatment in humans could be long-lasting, with three weeks in a mouse model equivalent to several years in humans.

    "We have discovered a small molecule compound that shows a profound and prolonged effect on autism-like social deficits without obvious side effects, while many currently used compounds for treating a variety of psychiatric diseases have failed to exhibit the therapeutic efficacy for this core symptom of autism," says Zhen Yan, a senior author on the study.

    This is not the first piece of research demonstrating a cancer drug reactivating Shank3. In 2016 a team at MIT used a breast cancer drug called tamoxifen to similar effect in mice engineered with inactive Shank3 genes. This prior study also demonstrated positive alterations in the animal's behavior from a reduction in anxiety to improved motor skills.

    A growing body of research is finding more and more curious genetic connections between autism and cancer. "The extensive overlap in risk genes for autism and cancer, many of which are chromatin remodeling factors, supports the idea of repurposing epigenetic drugs used in cancer treatment as targeted treatments for autism," says Yan.

    The new study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.


    Source: Anti-cancer drug improves autism-like behaviors in mouse experiments
     
  2. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Alcohol also greatly improves the "social defects" of autism and so do some street drugs, but it doesn't make them a recommended treatment. Any mind altering drug (or in the case of alcohol it's actually a poison) doesn't really do anyone any good, especially in the long term and a drug like this will almost certainly also have a dark side, but like antidepressants and antipsychotics it could still be pushed by powerful, greedy and evil pharmaceutical companies anyway. The worst is when they give mind altering drugs to children who aren't old enough to make an informed choice themselves and people on the lower functioning end of the spectrum who don't understand, this is in my opinion abuse.
     
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  3. kay

    kay Well-Known Member

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    No side effects worth worrying about with that idea, I'm sure ;).

    What ASD symptoms are sooo horrible that it would be ok to use a drug like that? There is nothing I want to change, not even the anxiety or meltdowns, enough to do that to myself. Life or death situations are the only reason to use drugs that almost do more harm than good and there is no way ASD falls into the same category as lymphoma.

    My sister did have some sorta chemo given to her a couple of years ago that made her super happy and social but I don't think she'd ever want to try that again.
     
  4. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I take this Tamoxifen as part of my cancer treatment. It is a hormone blocker. I haven't noticed that I've become more social or confident or outgoing, as the study suggests it might. I also took sertraline, and that increases seratonin levels which made me feel less anxious, more confident and a bit more outgoing, but actually what happens when I take it is that I may be less anxious, a bit more flexible and less rigid, but other autism-related issues surface instead, such as the tendency to say speak my mind more, to become too talkative, to ramble on and say what I'm thinking without filtering. I also become more impulsive and likely to make bad decisions. What changes is not whether I have autism or not, but my personality traits. The autism is still there, whether I take Tamoxifen or Sertraline or not. So I'm highly sceptical that these drugs could be used as a cure - whether we would want that or not is a different matter.

    Tamoxifen is a nasty drug with a lot of unpleasant side effects, and I would never want to take such a drug unless it were strictly necessary. The benefits should outweigh the drawbacks, otherwise why take it?

    However, having said that, if I were given the choice of taking a drug that would cure my cancer and also my autism at the same time, and there were no other alternatives, I would take the cure because I don't want to have to go through cancer again.
     
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  5. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Thanks, I'll give it a go :)
     
  6. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    What chemo drug was that?
    All I find with alcohol is that it intensifies whatever emotion I'm feeling at the time of taking it, so if I'm feeling anxious, I just get more anxious. It I feel uncomfortable and awkward, I feel more so. It also makes me sleepy, and I just shut down. It doesn't make me more sociable at all. In fact, I probably should avoid it because I'm less in control and not able to mask my ASD traits as well. The owner of a restaurant once told me that when people drink, whatever personality traits they have are exaggerated and you can see who they really are, they reveal their true selves, and I think that he is right.
     
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  7. pjcnet

    pjcnet Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It can do, but for a lot of people it also increases their confidence with "Dutch courage" and allows them to socialise easier reducing any anxiety.
     
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  8. kay

    kay Well-Known Member

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