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What Do Genetic Links Between Cancer And Autism Mean For Treatment?

(Courtesy Nick Ogonsky for Spectrum)
(Courtesy Nick Ogonsky for Spectrum)

In 1997 a Cleveland-based researcher studying a rare, sometimes-cancerous condition noticed that an unusually high percentage of her patients also had a particular type of autism. She eventually discovered that both conditions shared the same genetic mutation.

Since then, a number of other cancer genes have been found in some types of autism, and a recent report out of the University of California Davis says 43 genes thought to be involved in autism are also associated with cancer.

As more of these genes are studied and discovered, researchers are also focusing on what these findings could mean for autism treatment. Alisa Opar (@alisaopar) is author of “The Curious Connection Between Autism and Cancer,” published in the online magazine Spectrum, and joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss her findings.

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