By Teresa Conrick
In 2011, I wrote about how drug makers were thrilled about the money expectations in treating glutamate receptor issues and Autism. Ironically, another new study will be again showing that glutamate receptors [ mGluR1] are not working properly in those who have an Autism diagnosis. This from The Wall Street Journal:
"ZURICH—Changes in the brain caused by autism can be reversed in mice, a new preclinical study showed, opening a potential path to develop a treatment for the incurable disorder.
Roche Holding AG,ROG VX +17% a Swiss drug maker, and the University of Basel's Biozentrum said Friday the study identified a way to reverse a dysfunction in the brain's wiring typically caused by the disorder, which stumps intellectual development and can cause aggressive and anti-social behavior, and becomes evident in early childhood.
The study results will be published in the Oct. 5 issue of Science.
Researchers found that reactivating a gene involved in the formation of synapses, or junctions between nerve cells, can scale down the excessive production of a receptor called mGluR1. In some autistic people this gene is not working. Controlling production of the receptor ultimately makes structural defects in the brain--which are typical of autism—disappear."
Yet we are not told WHY there are changes in the brain. Instead we are whisked off into the land of genes and structural defects. Here's another, from the NYT, heralding the big release of this study AND the money:Competitors Form Partnership to Develop Autism Drugs
"Two of the front-runners in the race to develop drugs to treat mental retardation [WOW - guess Mr. Pollack missed this back in 2010 ] and autism are joining forces, hoping to save money and get to the market sooner......“This deal will establish the biggest effort to date” in autism drugs, Luca Santarelli, head of neuroscience for Roche, said before the announcement. Financial terms are not being disclosed."
...The mechanism that has perhaps shown the most promise, at least in mice, is to damp signaling in the brain by blocking a receptor called mGluR5. [Note that the WSJ said mGluR1]
Roche will provide money to help Seaside complete its clinical trials of arbaclofen. Seaside will halt development of its own mGluR5 antagonist, which it licensed from Merck, and will instead receive royalties on sales of Roche’s drug.
The alliance could pose a challenge to Novartis. “This is No. 2 and No. 3 ganging up on No. 1,” said Dr. Michael Tranfaglia, medical director of the Fraxa Research Foundation, which sponsors research into treatments for fragile X syndrome.
Dr. Randall L. Carpenter, chief executive of Seaside, said the money from Roche was a needed diversification of the company’s funding. Virtually all of the $90 million Seaside has raised has come from the Barony Trust, which is run by Peter Whipp, a British investment manager."
The picture that is emerging is that there is going to be
loads of money - a BONANZA - in treating all of these symptoms! And it's
all GENES! Well, not really though you would not know that from all of
these articles. Autism is a HUGE money ticket for drug development but
the reality is that much of the mechanism of action from many drugs always takes
us back to the scene of the autism epidemic.
I have posted before about certain drugs targeting Autism symptoms and how each also targets MERCURY toxicity and damage:
Namenda (Memantine HCL)
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) [This is an OTC antioxidant supplement that some companies are hoping to "investigate" for Autism. ]
Effect of baclofen on esophagogastric motility and
gastroesophageal reflux in children with gastroesophageal reflux disease: a
randomized controlled trial.
Here is that pertinent research to again show that the glutamate system can be directly harmed by Thimerosal:
Study implicates thimerosal in glutamate dysfunction
"...the effects of thimerosal on the expression, function, and transport activity of two types of cellular transporters, GLAST and GLT-1, that remove glutamate from synapses (the spaces between neurons) after its release from neuronal receptors. These transporters
must function correctly in “cleaning up” glutamate, in order to keep the glutamate system in proper balance....“Overall, the study provides direct evidence for the potential of thimerosal to alter glutamate homeostasis in the central nervous system.”
Hornig et al. -- ".....thimerosal caused ...abnormal hippocampal neurons with altered glutamate receptors and transporters."
NOTE also, from that same 2005 ARI article, the post regarding Fragile X and mGluR. This is not new information. I am all for looking into treatments and cures for Autism but the repeated "NEW" research on "MANY GENES" and "NEW" drugs to target "CHANGES IN THE BRAIN" is complete and utter nonsense and we should not stand for it! Millions of dollars are going into the same rerun rabbit hole with an attempt to blame the genes. The theme it appears is to try and fix a profound injury that modern medicine caused.
Shhh. It's a secret.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.