Researchers from the University of Guelph have developed the first vaccine to control several autism symptoms in children, Medical Xpress reports.
Study led by Brittany Pequegnat and Guelph chemistry professor Mario Monteiro developed a carbohydrate-based vaccine against the gut bacteria most common in autistic children called Clostridium bolteae. It is a key element in gastrointestinal disorders, and is found in higher numbers in the gastrointestinal tracts of children suffering with autism.
Researchers noted that over 90 percent of autistic children suffer severe gastrointestinal disorders and 75 percent of those suffer diarrhea, according to Medical Xpress.
"Little is known about the factors that predispose autistic children to C. bolteae," said Monteiro.
According to Monteiro, the vaccine will help control diarrhea and constipation and other autism-related symptoms caused by C. bolteae. Currently doctors use antibiotics to handle such infections but the invention of this vaccine can help in better treatments.
Although scientists have failed to find the reason for a rapid growth of autism cases which has increased by over six times over the last two decades, but several health experts have blamed the environmental factors and many other have pointed on the human gut, according to the report.
Some researchers believe the reason behind severe symptoms of autism, such as regressive autism, is caused by the toxins of metabolites produced by gut bacteria including C. bolteae.
For the study Monteiro and Pequeqnat used the new anti-C.bolteae bacteria grown by Mike Toth, a Guelph PhD student in the lab of microbiology professor Emma Allen-Vercoe. This bacterium is known to target the specific complex polysaccharides, or carbohydrates lying on top of the bug. The vaccine that was formed efficiently raised C. bolteae -specific antibodies in rabbits. According to Monteiro, this vaccine can now be used to detect the bug in a clinical setting in an efficient manner
Monteiro estimated about ten or more years for the development and public use of the vaccine as it will be undergoing preclinical and human trials. But the development of a multivalent vaccine against C. bolteae is the first step towards better treatments in the future.
The findings of the study were published in an online journal Vaccine.