The Simons Foundation and Autism Speaks® forge a new alliance to foster postmortem brain research.
The Autism Tissue Program (ATP), initially a program of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and then Cure Autism Now (CAN), has promoted brain donation for autism research since it began in 1998. With the announcement of the launch of Autism BrainNet at the IMFAR meeting in Atlanta, operations of the ATP will be included within the new Autism BrainNet organization. The transition of the ATP to the Autism BrainNet provides an expanded infrastructure to obtain brain tissue.
What the change means to:
- Donor Families: A significant aspect of the ATP is the commitment to families whose circumstances led them to donate tissue of a loved one. Those families with a shared history with the ATP are always welcome to talk with staff and access memorials to loved ones that are on the site. The concept of families being a partner in research continues with the Autism BrainNet and the donation procedures instituted by the Autism BrainNet will ensure that the donation process is as simple as possible for the donor families and that the brain tissue is recovered in a way that will lead to optimal research results. All tissue that has been donated to the ATP will become part of the Autism BrainNet collection and will continue to be a major resource for autism research worldwide.
- Registrants: Many individuals have registered with ATP to donate brain tissue. We would encourage the ATP registrants to re-register at the Autism BrainNet Registry. The process is greatly streamlined and should take no longer than 5 minutes. Registration provides a way to be in touch about the Autism BrainNet and the achievements of associated scientists. This registry is not a consent process and in no way obligates registrants to a donation.
- Researchers: The ATP’s Tissue Advisory Board awarded tissue resources to many researchers who will have continued access to an updated Autism BrainNet portal. The aim of Autism BrainNet is to consolidate existing resources and to increase donations for future research. New guidelines for tissue application can be found at: research.AutismBrainNet.org.
The ATP has communicated transition plans with members of each of these three groups; please write or call if you have questions: info@AutismBrainNet.org; 877-333-0999.