Autism: Is This a Vascular Disease and Would Therapeutic Angiogenesis be a Potential Treatment?

Dr. Jack Jacobs


Conference 2023






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Numerous lines of evidence, both in humans and animals, indicate that there is a problem with the brain’s blood vessels in individuals with autism. This problem appears focused on the autistic brain’s inability to grow new blood vessels (angiogenesis) when additional demands for a ramped-up blood supply is needed. This leads to a decrease in capillary and arteriole density in areas of the brain that control important activities, including social interactions, communication and impulse control — activities that become disrupted in autism. Zhittya Genesis Medicine is developing one of the most potent angiogenic growth factors (FGF-1) that we have in our bodies and has shown this growth factor can stimulate both new blood vessel growth and new neuron growth in animal models of brain disorders. With recent human studies that have demonstrated the safe and relatively easy manner in which FGF-1 can now be delivered into the brain via intranasal delivery, this promising drug candidate will now be tested in individuals with autism.


Dr. Jack Jacobs

Dr. Jacobs received his BS degree from Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He has been involved in the healthcare industry for over 25 years and has extensive expertise in supervising drug manufacturing operations and the design and implementation of preclinical animal trials and US FDA-authorized clinical trials. He started a new department of Biological Chemistry at the pharmaceutical company, Merck, and for 15 years worked as the Chief Science Officer of CardioVascular BioTherapeutics, Inc. where he oversaw FDA-authorized clinical trials in which the angiogenesis drug candidate, human FGF-1, was tested in a number of medical indications, including coronary artery disease, diabetic foot ulcers and peripheral artery disease. He has been continuing these drug development activities with FGF-1 at Zhittya Genesis Medicine, concentrating on the potential role of “therapeutic angiogenesis” to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.