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Autism Speaks launches $1.5 million funding opportunity for treatment studies

Researchers are invited to apply for funding to evaluate new interventions and support services for disabling autism symptoms and associated health conditions
June 05, 2018

Autism Speaks is pleased to announce $1.5 million in funding for two clinical trials evaluating new medical and behavioral therapies, with an emphasis on addressing the physical and mental health conditions that frequently accompany autism.

“Our goal is to identify near-term solutions for autism-related behaviors that reduce quality of life and to develop improved treatments for the medical conditions that affect many people on the spectrum,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazier.

Children and adults affected by autism have strikingly high rates of many medical and mental health conditions including epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders, disrupted sleep and anxiety, as well as behaviors and communication challenges that can interfere with safety, learning and daily function.

“Funding clinical trials focused on more-effective treatments goes directly to our mission of enhancing lives today while accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow,” Dr. Frazier says.

The new research funding will support two separate clinical trials enrolling people with autism. The research grants will extend for up to three years, with up to $250,000 in funding per year for each study.

In inviting applications for this funding, Autism Speaks is looking for research that emphasizes the following:

* Target outcomes (goals) should include improvements in one or more medical and/or mental health conditions associated with autism, in addition to improvements in challenging autism symptoms that decrease the quality of life.

* Autism Speaks will give preference to clinical studies that include less cognitively able participants. Around one-third of people with autism have an intellectual disability, and this population has been underrepresented in autism research.

* The study should include objective measures, or biomarkers, of improvements and other changes over the course of the clinical trial. This is in line with Autism Speaks’ strategic goal of fostering consensus and objectivity in how autism research identifies and measures the benefits of new therapies, support services and other approaches to improving quality of life for people on the spectrum.

Researchers can find the official request for applications (RFA), including technical requirements and deadlines here.

To learn about some of the past clinical studies funded by Autism Speaks, also see:

* More evidence that melatonin eases autism-associated insomnia

* New insight into autism and intestinal problems

* Folinic acid improves communication, eases autism symptoms in some children

* Speech devices can help build language in minimally verbal schoolchildren with autism

* Study finds sensory integration therapy benefits children with autism

* Researchers launch study with oxytocin nasal spray

* Preschoolers with autism gain when teachers foster shared attention

* Small study finds B12 injections ease autism symptoms in some children

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