Luca Santarelli, head of neuroscience at Roche, explains why he is optimistic that pharmaceutical companies can overcome the obstacles in autism drug development.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.
Two studies published over the past month followed individuals with autism at various ages and showed that they gain developmental skills differently than controls do.
Immune cells called microglia may play a central role in trimming synapses, the connections between neurons, according to research published 24 May in Neuron. These modifications are part of a normal developmental process by which excess synapses in the brain are destroyed.
Knocking out an autism-linked gene called PTEN only in neural stem cells of the hippocampus, a brain region central to learning and memory, throws the development of new neurons off course in adult mice, according to research published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience.
A new initiative launched by the National Institute of Mental Health aims to redefine clinical trials for autism by funding short, biomarker-based studies that will allow investigators to quickly rule out ineffective compounds.