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‚ÄčNote: Miles McInerney was involved in the early stages of the SAT-1 trial, but ultimately did not participate or receive suramin. Nonetheless, the experience prompted the 15-year-old to compose the poem below describing his thoughts about living with autism spectrum disorder, cell danger response and the prospects of suramin. The poem, called Dr. Naviaux's Dream, prompted a responding bit of poetry from Dr. Naviaux.

Dr. Naviaux's Dream

By Miles McInerney

Ecogenetic disorder
Rigid, membranes stiffened, mitochondria folded too tightly
Armed borders and severed communication lines
Words dim in my head; A militia of thoughts, delayed transmission
Suramin sounds like a city on the Dark Continent
A civil war of cells

Cell danger response
Retreat, hostile fire; papers kept in formation and uniform
Pencils laid out, like green mechanical outcasts
Designated for my trial mission
Winding extracellular pathways end
North or South Sudan

Hardened borders
Words on paper, a cluttered mess of anarchy
Each action of my writing and thinking taking twice as long
Cells fumble a compromise; the transmission continues to stutter
Cellular signals lost in the halo of metabolites
A language with only one translator

Immune response
Neurological bureaucracy, mitokines mediate in another language
The powerplant of communication shut down; unplugged
Mitochondria shuffle; a melee of signals clash
Maneuver by one another, barely missing, reaching
Unable to touch

A civil war of cells
Suramin hired to negotiate the peace treaty between my cells
Arrange the militias at the table; enter a compromise agreement
Establish the signaling system; end the war
Negotiate the border treaty
Establish the freedom of passage

Dr. Naviaux's Reply

By Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD

Shatter the glass
Like brother and sister, stranger and friend
Cells greeting, welcoming, reaching across the uncertain void
To celebrate their differences and their gifts
Unique and stronger together
Finding voice for the beauty inside