The study's lead researcher, Dr. Robert Naviaux of the San Diego School of Medicine is an internationally known expert in human genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, metabolomics, and mitochondrial medicine. He is the discoverer of the cause of Alpers syndrome — the oldest Mendelian form of mitochondrial disease — and the developer of the first DNA test to diagnose it. Naviaux is, by far, one of the most qualified people in the world to conduct this study.
During his research, Naviaux noted the transformative results of the drug suramin which was first developed in 1916 and used as an anti-parasitic drug for treating African sleeping sickness and river blindness. After giving a single dose of suramin to boys with autism, between the ages of five and 14, Naviaux recorded something incredible — their symptoms were significantly alleviated.
"After the single dose, it was almost like a roadblock had been released," he said. "If the future studies show that there's continued health benefits, this could be a game-changer for families with autism."