Chemotherapy and Autism, Is there a Connection?

141203100035-largeResearchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine (UNCSM) recently published a study on linking chemotherapy as a potential cause of autism.

Scientists at UNCSM published research demonstrating how a common chemotherapy drug called, Topotecan is capable of drastically suppressing the expression of Topoisomerase-1. What is Topoisomerase-1? Topoisomerase-1 is a gene that triggers creating proteins that are essential for normal brain function. When a patient is currently undergoing treatment with this drug, it works against proteins that are necessary for neurons to communicate through synapses. Researchers have found that after the drug is removed from the body, the brain function and communication seems to return to normal.

The experiments conducted have used only Topotecan, but the larger class of the drug could be linked to the cause of healthy brain function. Many similar drugs to Topotecan are currently in development and other research has found that the drugs penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

“There’s still a question in the cancer field about the degree to which some chemotherapies get into the brain. But in our experiments, we show that if they do get in, they can have a dramatic effect on synaptic function. We think drug developers should be aware of this when testing their next generation of Topoisomerase inhibitors,” said Mark Zylka, Phd.

This research indicates that it is possible for many factors related to chemotherapy to have a similar affect as Topotecan in brain function, as Topotecan could affect long-term development. Topotecan is one example of a suppressant of the genes linked to autism. Dr. Philpot also directing the study stated that, although the experiments they are conducting are isolated to using cells in a dish, they are finding consistent results with chemotherapy patients.

Dr. Philpot stated, “It is very good to know that at UNC we have a big effort to study patient-reported outcomes during therapy so that we can balance care for the whole person.”

You can find more information about the original article here.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>