Australia establishes first autism biobank

DNABrisbane, Australia — Australia has just established its first-ever large scale autism biobank.

The country’s biggest autism biobank was established in hopes of helping researchers develop an earlier and more accurate diagnosis for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Cooperative Centre for Living with Autism Chairwoman Judy Brewer said they hope to lessen the time it takes for children with autism to be diagnosed through the help of the biobank.

The biobank will keep records of information collected from families of individuals with autism, including behavioral patterns of the patients, and biological information extracted from blood and DNA samples.

According to Brewer:

“It’s a very large national asset that we are developing to increase understanding of autism… It is the first Australian large scale Biobank – there have been smaller biobanks – but not to have public access or access to the research community to use in Australia and internationally.

The biobank will allow researchers to see details about individuals with autism from a macro perspective, making it easier for them to pinpoint on the things that the patients have in common, and allowing them to make better conclusions in the process. Ms. Brewer added:

“If we can break down that spectrum into understanding where on the spectrum some people sit … [and] what’s the best way they can learn [and how] they can achieve their full potential, that will mean we can target treatments a lot better.”

Source: Nance Haxton: ABC News Australia: Autism biobank established with aim to develop earlier, more accurate diagnosis