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NSU and Immunotec Start Clinical Trial in Autism

NSU and the dietary supplement company Immunotec announced today that they will conduct a new research study to determine the effects of a supplement to improve behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder. The 2-year study will investigate the effects of a cysteine-rich whey protein isolate in children diagnosed with autism. The primary function of this research is to establish whether taking a 90-day diet of cysteine-rich whey proteins (which comes in a powder form), will have a positive effect on autistic behaviors. Improvements in affected behaviors may result in an enhanced quality of life for both children and their families. During the clinical study, there will be an analysis of the children’s exhibited behaviors.

Ana Maria Castejon, Ph.D., an associate professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder currently affecting as many as 1 in 110 children in the United States. The conventional treatment for autism is centered on special schooling and behavioral therapy, and other conventional medical treatments. Whey protein isolate, which is used in this study, is a derivative of dairy product manufacturing, and is commonly used as a dietary supplement or food additive ingredient. The NSU-Immunotec study’s principal investigator is Ana Maria Castejon, Ph.D., who is an associate professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy. She and her research team are very enthusiastic about the potential outcomes of this study. “Parents and caregivers are trying different approaches that have gained significant popularity, but have not been proven to be effective,” Castejon said.

Gary S. Margules, Sc.D., NSU vice president of research and technology transfer, called the study an “outstanding example of the multidisciplinary approach to clinical research.” Castejon is joined by co-investigators at NSU’s Mailman Segal Center of Human Development. These researchers have vast experience in children with developmental disorders, specifically in the area of autism behavior.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Margules, Dr. Castejon and their research team. This joint collaborative clinical research initiative marks an important milestone for Immunotec in the field of autism,” said John Molson, Vice- President Research & Development at Immunotec Inc.