View Full Version : 'Largest Ever' Autism Genetics Study

rock hunter
05-05-2016, 07:09 AM
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has joined what organizers are calling the largest-ever genetics study on autism.

The Center for Autism Research at CHOP was among the 21 research sites selected by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative for the study, called SPARK. The name is an acronym for Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The online research initiative will collect information and DNA for genetic analysis from 50,000 individuals with autism — and their families. The information will be used to advance researchers’ understanding of the causes of autism, and to accelerate the discovery of treatments and new ways to support people with the brain development disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 68 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder.

“Identifying genes is critically important for developing new therapies for autism,” said Robert T. Schultz, director of CHOP’s Center for Autism Research. “However, one of the greatest challenges for researchers is the sheer number of gene variants associated with autism, combined with the tremendous variability in the symptoms of autism."

Schultz said because the causes and manifestations of autism spectrum disorders are so varied, extremely large samples of patients are needed for genetic discoveries.

“Team science and collaboration is the only viable path forward for rapidly making progress, and SPARK provides us with just such an opportunity,” he said.

The Simons Foundation is a private foundation based in New York that is dedicated advancing research in mathematics and the basic sciences.