"....:**note: this study is still pending**
The link between the symptoms of autism and the body's immune system is of great interest to our team. Specifically, we are interested in the febrile response in autism; symptoms of autism seem to dissipate in times of fever. The effects of febrile response in autism can be attributed to either an immune-inflammatory response or a direct effect of temperature on clinical symptoms. In this study, we seek to test a novel approach to ASD that will differentiate the two and would support the immune-inflammatory mechanism of the febrile response in ASD.
In this study, the eggs of Trichuris Suis Ova (TSO), a helmith porcine whipworm, are diluted into a liquid and given to patients for ingestion. In turn, the ova hatch in the small bowel and release larvae that mature into adult worms, however these worms cannot effectively multiply in the host and are not easily transmitted to others, hence they are not readily spread to other humans. Through an anti-inflammatory response, TSO regulates immune function and may, in turn, affect behavioral symptoms in individuals with autism.
Current pharmacological approaches to autism point to immunomodulatory effects in autism symptomatology; many FDA approved medications, prescribed for the symptoms of autism, act on the immune system. Risperidone, an FDA approved treatment for irritability and aggression in autism, has been found to have immunoregulatory effects through suppression of proinflammatory cytokines. Lithium has also been used in autism and studies of lithium have shown it also has immunoregulatory effects.
The autoimmune response triggered by the investigational agent may be effective in reducing repetitive behaviors, aggression, self-injury and impulsivity. The immunomodulatory pathways affected in ASD may not be influenced by the helminth TSO, and there is a possibility other tests and therapies for immune function may be a better fit for ASD. However, given its ability to inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines and restore balance to the Th1/Th2 system, and its success in treating other autoimmune disorders, it stands to reason that TSO may be a good test of the immune dysfunction hypothesis in ASD.
If you or your child are interested in participating in this study, please contact Tara Kahn at (718) 653-4859 x226 or firstname.lastname@example.org