UTHealth researchers recruiting children with autism for Blüm study

McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is the only Texas site for a Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an investigational medication called CM-AT to treat the symptoms of autism in children ages 3 to 8.

The principal investigator of the Texas site for the Blüm Study is Deborah A. Pearson, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Autism is a growing epidemic with recent estimates that one in every 68 children is diagnosed with this disorder. Unfortunately, researchers have not yet identified a definitive cause of the disorder or a medication to treat the symptoms. Pearson’s center is dedicated to researching the causes, characteristics and treatments of autism.

There are growing observations that children with autism experience gastrointestinal symptoms. Recently, children with autism have been found to have low levels of an enzyme needed for protein digestion. When the human body does not adequately break down proteins, it may lack essential amino acids, which are critical building blocks for the production of neurotransmitters. This can affect overall brain development and function.

The Blüm Study is a 14-week, placebo-controlled research study using CM-AT for children ages 3 to 8 with autism. CM-AT is a proprietary blend of digestive enzymes designed to treat the symptoms of autism and is formulated to be released in the small intestine to potentially improve their digestion.

“With proper protein digestion, children with autism have the potential to improve their access to the substances necessary for proper brain development and function,” Pearson said.

The drug has no taste and comes in a powder form so it is sprinkled on food three times a day. The Blüm study involves no needles and no pills.

For more information about enrollment, call 713-486-2591.