mission of MAT: Medicine for Autism Today (MAT) is to facilitate
autism research and expeditiously identify effective medical treatment
options for children with autism.
over one-half million individuals and therefore is more prevalent
than Cystic Fibrosis (30,000), Downs Syndrome (250,000), Multiple
Sclerosis (350,000) and pediatric rheumatoid arthritis ((50,000).
However, the funding for research into cures for these conditions
is up to ten (10) times greater than that of autism, which receives
less than $20 of research funding per individual. This inequity
is due primarily to an emphasis on behavioral diagnostic and treatment
tools in lieu of the development of a scientific/medical model
for autism treatment.
the incidence of autism has exploded over the last decade and
now occurs in at least 40 births per 10,000 (compared to 1-2 births
per 10,000 only a decade ago. MATs demographic analysis also shows
that special needs classifications like autism, ADD and speech
and language disorders are increasing three times faster than
the general population for children ages 5-19. Developmental disorders
do not increase at these rates!!! Thus, the only plausible explanation
for such data is a medical disease process triggered by a combination
of factors, including the environment.
only one medical agent is under formal FDA review for the treatment
of autism compared to 44 for childhood cancer, 14 for cystic fibrosis,
nine for epilepsy and three for rheumatoid arthritis. MAT wants
to close these research gaps and provide our children with the
future they deserve.
board that MAT believes offers the most potential for identifying
medical treatment options for this generation of children with
autism is the Neuro-Immune Dysfunction Syndromes (NIDS) Medical
Advisory Board, a nonprofit medical research group that is currently
developing a medical model with which to treat autism.
The NIDS Board
has developed a Clinical Hypothesis Statement (available upon
request) with over 60 peer reviewed journal references to support
its research mission. The fundamental premise of the hypothesis
is that these children are suffering from a dysfunctional relationship
between the immune and neurological systems and require immune
modulation to restore their cognitive potential. In addition,
the following medical studies have been published in peer reviewed
journals since the development of the Clinical Hypothesis Statement
that further support the presence of neuro-immune and/or autoimmune
dysfunction in children with autism:
- In the
June, 1999 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, a group of six
researchers concluded that the presence of (brain auto antibodies)
raises the possibility that autoimmuity plays a role in the
pathogenesis of language and social development abnormalities
in a subset of children with children (with autism and LAS).
(J Pediatrics 1999; 134:607-613)
- In the
June, 1999 issue of the Journal of Child Neurology, researchers
led by Dr. Anne M. Comi of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore,
Maryland concluded that autism appears to be more common in
families with a history of autoimmune disorders. The study included
61 autistic patients and 46 healthy patients. (J Child Neurology
at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York reported in the New
England Journal of Medicine this year that men with testicular
cancer and brain damage had a particular type of antibody in
their blood that may have caused the brain damage. They believe
the brain damage was not caused by the cancer, but by an overly
aggressive attack by the bodys own immune system on a protein
produced by tumors. This is the third study to link brain damage
to an immune system attack on cancer.
this end, MAT has assisted the NIDS Board with the development
of a business plan that can be summarized as follows:
clinical database (with appropriate control subjects) that evaluates
the medical aspects of autism, including any immune system dysregulation
that may contribute to the symptoms seen in autism
NOTE: The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism has agreed to
support this database development.
clinical subgroups of children with autism based on the immune
system factors catalogued in the medical database to more accurately
target the types of agents for review
NOTE: A private foundation has been identified that is interested
in assisting with the development of a NIDS medical “fellowship”
to facilitate this analysis.
animal trials with the agents that offer the most potential
to evaluate and maximize patient safety during clinical trials
the licensing rights to multiple immune system agents, including
neuropeptides such as VIP and Peptide T, that have the potential
to remediate the disease process in a defined subset of children
NOTE: A NIDS
Board member is near completion in securing the rights to Peptide
T as an immune modulator.
a network of research sites (which include NeuroSpect brain
imaging capabilities) to facilitate the review of these agents.
Sites will likely include UCLA, UMDNJ in New Jersey and a medical
facility in Sydney, Australia.
the data and research noted above to the pharmaceutical industry
and commission interested parties to facilitate FDA approved
clinical trials that comply with all federal safety and efficacy
NOTE: Glaxo-Wellcome, Smith Kiln Beech and Roche have each requested
additional information as outlined above.
In order to accomplish these tasks, we have developed a fund-raising
goal of $750,000 as follows:
for clinical database development
for animal trial support
for research network development ((NeuroSPECT)
for clinical trial support
- $ 75,000
in general operations expense (10% of budget)
- MAT and
NIDS believes that this business plan will lead to clinical
trials with immune modulators by Fall, 2000 and put us on the
road to solving the medical aspects of autism.