The UC Davis MIND Institute Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is one of five Centers awarded by the National Institutes of Health in 2017. This ACE, called the Center for the Development of Phenotype-Based Treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorder, aims to discover effective treatments for subgroups of children with autism. The Center starts from the premise that one treatment will not fit all children with autism. If clinically meaningful subgroups can be identified on the basis of behavioral, biological or genetic features, treatments targeted to the characteristics of the subgroup will undoubtedly be more effective. The MIND ACE is an extension of the Autism Phenome Project (APP) which, for over 10 years, has worked to define different types of autism.
The initial goals of the ACE are:
1) To test two types of treatments for anxiety in children (8-12-years old) who have a clinically significant anxiety disorder in addition to autism (Project 1);
2) To determine why children with very enlarged brains and autism have poorer outcomes than children who have more typically-sized brains (Projects 2 and 3).
The long-term goal of these projects is to develop more effective treatments for this group of children who are currently not benefitting optimally from available therapies.
During the course of ACE operations, investigators will continue to define other autism subtypes and explore targeted treatments for these.
The overall structure of the MIND ACE is:
This research is supported by an Autism Center of Excellence grant awarded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) (P50 HD093079).
The Autism Center of Excellence embraces the concept of neurodiversity and welcomes autistic individuals as collaborators, students and staff members.