NIH awards $100 million for Autism Centers of Excellence Program
Nine grantees are receiving funding over next five years for autism spectrum disorder research.
Balintfy: The National Institutes of Health has announced grant awards of $100 million over five years for the Autism Centers of Excellence research program. The program will feature projects investigating sex differences in autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, and investigating ASD and limited speech.
Kau: The Autism Centers of Excellence or ACE research program is a trans-NIH collaboration involving five institutes.
Balintfy: Dr. Alice Kau is a program director for autism research at the NIH.
Kau: The autism program has two components to it, one is autism centers and the other is autism network.
Balintfy: She explains that the difference between centers and networks are based on the design and way they are funded.
Kau: ACE centers involve multidisciplinary coordinated programs or research that demonstrate cohesion and synergy across research subprojects and that are conducted at one institution. ACE network on the other hand are multi-site projects focusing on a specific topic of research commonly used for recruitment purpose.
Balintfy: Nine grants being awarded for 2012 will support research at individual centers or at research networks, which involve multiple institutions, dedicated to the study of ASD. Dr. Kau says the ACE program allows NIH institutes to leverage their resources to support the large collaborative efforts needed to advance broad research goals.
Kau: I can give you one example. One of the new ACE network involving four data collection sites and plans to recruit a large sample of individuals with ASD matched to normal controls and unaffected siblings and to examine sex-specific differences in ASD. They will connect enormous amount of behavioral, genetic and neurological data and then the total sample will be 625 individuals from age 7 to 17. So such a large project is usually unlikely to take place and funded without such an initiative from NIH.
Balintfy: She adds that having four data collection sites also helps research move more quickly.
Kau: If you have only one site of research conducting and recruiting subjects, you would take like ten years or maybe even fifteen years to recruit enough subjects. But by having four sites, we can actually conduct research in five years.
Balintfy: She emphasizes that studying ASD is an important area of research.
Kau: According to CDC's most recent prevalence study, about 1 in 88 children in the United States has autism and ASD are almost five times more common among boys, 1 in 54, than among girls, 1 in 252.
Balintfy: For more information on autism spectrum disorders research and funding, visit www.nichd.nih.gov. And to hear more of the interview with Dr. Alice Kau, listen to episode 170 of the NIH Research Radio podcast. For NIH Radio, this is Joe Balintfy — NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Alice Kau
Topic: autism, autism spectrum disorders, ASD, Autism Centers of Excellence, ACE, research, funding, grant, award
Additional Info: NIH awards $100 million for Autism Centers of Excellence Program