New Center of Emphasis Focuses on Autism Research

03/6/2008

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, through the Joseph Stokes Jr. Research Institute, has launched the Center for Autism Research (CAR) to coordinate and support research into the causes of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The Center's programs of research are predicated on the belief that effective treatments will follow from a better understanding of causal mechanisms.

Led by Robert T. Schultz, Ph.D., in collaboration with other CHOP faculty, the CAR will establish a broad-based research program aimed at fundamental discoveries into causes of the ASDs. This new Center will establish programs of research focused on developmental, neurobiological and genetic mechanisms of the ASDs, with a particular emphasis on understanding the individual differences across the spectrum. Affiliated faculty will also engage in research to evaluate the current standard of care for patients with an ASD and to test the effectiveness of promising new treatments.

The new Center for Autism Research will be tightly integrated with the Department of Pediatrics' Regional Autism Center, and its director, Susan E. Levy, M.D. The Regional Autism Center provides comprehensive, coordinated, family-centered care for young children suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder.

A key component of the CAR'S mission involves serving as a community resource for state of the art clinical evaluations for research volunteers and expert guidance for all study participants. The Center will also promote the dissemination of research findings in order to reduce the time it takes for those findings to be diffused into clinical practice.