Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Autism researchers awarded with $2.125 million grant

Yesterday, The New Jersey Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism announced  that it will be awarding a team of scientists with a five-year $2.125 million grant for their research on the Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The researchers, led by James H. Millonig, intend to use induced pluripotent stem cells to develop in vitro human neuron cell lines. Hopefully, by studying these lab-grown neurons, they will be able to give new insight on how autism and other ASD conditions develop. Millonig says:

"We hope to identify the neurobiological, molecular and genetic basis – the biological signature – of autism.”

Video featuring Dr. James H. Millonig, talking about his work

The researchers will also test the efficiency of drugs already approved by the FDA, with the aim to develop new therapeutic approaches for improving or even reversing ASD conditions.

The autism spectrum disorder (ASD) term, is used to describe a wide range of conditions classified as pervasive developmental disorders, presenting with social deficits (difficulty to communicate and interact with other people), repetitive behaviours and cognitive delays. Some examples of ASD are:
  • Autism 
  • Asperger syndrome 
  • Pervasive developmental disorder 
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Rett syndrome

Picture of an autistic child
Repetitive stacking of objects is a common behavioural symptom of individuals with Autism 


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