Autism Has 'Eerie' Connection to Cancer Gene
Researchers see hope for autism treatment
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2013 7:10 AM CDT
Updated Aug 12, 2013 7:39 AM CDT
A technician loads patient samples into a machine for testing at Myriad Genetics.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

(Newser) – "It's eerie," says a scientist of a newly discovered link between autism and cancer. What researchers found: A gene known as PTEN can cause a number of different cancers, including breast, thyroid, and colon; and it turns out that some 10% of kids with mutations in the gene have autism, the New York Times reports. That's about 10 times the typical rate of autism occurrence. Autism also occurs in about half of kids with a genetic disorder known as tuberous sclerosis, which boosts brain and kidney cancer risk. Only an incredibly small proportion of kids with autism have these gene mutations, however (Forbes reports that about 1% of people with autism have the PTEN mutation).

But the discovery has allowed researchers to alter the genetics of mice to mimic autism symptoms (the Times notes no animals get autism "naturally"). That enabled them to test a drug that fights tuberous sclerosis-induced tumors on the mice. After observing promising results there, a clinical trial involving a similar drug and children who have autism and the tuberous sclerosis mutation has begun. The researchers hope the drug, called everolimus, will boost the children's mental abilities; the study is due to be finished by December of next year. (In other fascinating related studies: The placenta may hold autism clues.)

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
Aug 14, 2013 12:56 AM CDT
Doug Kauffman will be eating this up. He proposes that everything that causes cancer, causes autism. You start with the known micotoxins that cause cancer like yeast, fungus, artificial colors, sugar, high fructose corn syrup. You then look at people who removed those items from their autistic kids and they actually recovered from the affliction. You also look at the cancer group who removed mostly all sugars and carbs from a person with cancer, and the cancer goes away. Doug had it right 30 years ago and he still has it right today. Starve the fungus, starve the cancer, reverse the autism. FUPO.
Aug 12, 2013 5:17 PM CDT
Ok, & then studies like this come along, throwing a monkey wrench into some theories
Aug 12, 2013 11:21 AM CDT
Poop ist mein freund!