The Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) reached a milestone this week, as the 101st publication citing the AGRE database was published. The largest private collection of families with two or more children with autism, AGRE accelerates the pace of autism research by providing clinical and genetic information to qualified researchers. AGRE was created by Cure Autism Now in 1997 to advance genetic research in autism spectrum disorders. AGRE psychometricians, physicians, and phlebotomists travel nationwide administering standardized assessments, conducting interviews and collecting blood. This information is then made available to researchers via the Internet System for Assessing Autistic Children (ISAAC). “There are currently 186 researchers from 13 countries approved to access the resource and now over 100 publications that have relied on the resource since the first publication in 2001” said Dr. Clara Lajonchere, Autism Speaks VP of clinical programs, who has been leading the AGRE program since 2003. “The number of publications that have relied on the AGRE resource is testimony to its impact on the scientific community.” Scientific journals which have cited the AGRE database include Science, Nature Genetics, Molecular Psychiatry and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
AGRE is currently developing a series of on-line surveys for families that have participated in the program in order to gather additional information on children and families that will supplement and enhance the existing database. “Parents are our true partners and every bit of our success is a result of their dedication to the research process” added Dr. Lajonchere.