A vaccine has been created for children with autism to help fight gut bacteria, which may also help to control some of their symptoms of autism, Science Daily reported.
The University of Guelph researchers who conducted the study published their findings in this month’s journal Vaccine.
Brittany Pequegnat, a master’s student, and Guelph chemistry professor Mario Monteiro created a carb-based vaccine, which protects against Clostridium bolteae – also known as C. bolteae.
This particular bug is known to play a role in gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, and it often shows up more in kids with autism compared to the rest of the population.
More than 90 percent of children on the autism spectrum suffer from chronic GI issues, and of those 90 percent, 75 percent suffer from diarrhea.
Monteiro said experts aren’t quite sure what causes children with autism to become predisposed to C. bolteae, but sometimes antibiotics can help. However, a vaccine could not only control unpleasant GI symptoms but perhaps the symptoms associated with autism as well.
Many experts believe environmental factors play a role in autism, but other researchers believe the focus should be on bacteria in the gut.
Pequegnat and Monteiro used bacteria grown by a Guelph Ph.D. student to develop their vaccine, which targets the carbohydrates on the bug’s surface. The vaccine raised C. bolteae-specific antibodies in the rabbits used for the study.
Researchers said the vaccine would take more than 10 years to study in clinical and human trials, but this development is a significant step forward.
Research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
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