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Identification of Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using Protein and Metabolite Profiling

May 5, 2023 - December 31, 2024

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. Given the lack of specific pharmacological therapy for ASD and the clinical heterogeneity of the disorder, researchers at The Johnson Center and the University of Texas Southwestern are undertaking an ASD biomarker study with the goal of identifying biomarkers for determining ASD risk and developing potential therapeutic interventions.

This study may help with identifying ASD risk in very young children so that interventions and therapies can begin as early as possible – this is critical for ensuring the best developmental outcome. We will use machine learning (AI) to identify therapeutic targets that may help with addressing ASD-specific behaviors.

What are the goals of the study?

The purpose of this study is to identify biomarkers of ASD that correlate with behavioral and developmental phenotypes in order to:
1) develop and test biomarker profiles that form a diagnostics tool;
2) screen and identify children with ASD who might benefit from specific interventions; and 3) develop and test biomarker profiles that inform an instrument for monitoring therapeutic response to medical interventions; and improve the clinical well-being of affected children and increase our knowledge base of this disorder.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Your participation will require two parts:

i) Completion of 4 online questionnaires that can be done from home.

ii) Visiting a Lab Service Center, such as Quest, Lab Corp or CPL, near your home for your child to give a small blood sample.

Compensation of $125 is provided upon completion of the study.

How will this help families?

The biomarkers we identify may assist in the development of therapeutic interventions for targeted treatments for autism.

Eligibility Criteria

Male and female children ages 18 month to 8 years of age
Children that have a confirmed ASD diagnosis or health control children that do not have ASD or a sibling with ASD.
Participants must live in the US and be fluent in English.

View the study flyer here.

Contact Information

Laura Hewitson – Lhewitson@johnson-center.org

Research Study Website
The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development

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