Viewpoint: We need to change the way autism research is funded

| | October 4, 2017

[Editor's note: John Rodakis is the founder and CEO of N of One: Autism Research Foundation.]

Robert Naviaux, a professor at the University of California, San Diego ...] announced results from a clinical trial involving 10 boys with autism. Half were given the drug suramin and showed significantly improved language and social behavior.

In the U.S. just three organizations control 99% of all funding for biomedical research on autism: the federal government (primarily the National Institutes of Health); Autism Speaks (which does commendable work raising awareness); and a large foundation funded by a family. Everyone else collectively makes up less than 1% of funding.

These three organizations almost exclusively support research that aligns with the conventional view of autism as primarily a genetic disorder of brain wiring. The problem is that this “genetics-first” paradigm does not fit the emerging research, including Dr. Naviaux’s, and has failed to produce answers. Research that does not fit neatly within this view—or that dares to contradict it—has little chance of being funded.

What we need is for the “market” that allocates capital to medical research to more closely resemble the risk-taking financial and venture-capital markets. Researchers should be rewarded for stretching beyond conventional views in search of breakthroughs.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Autism Research Should Be Financed Like Venture Capital (behind paywall)

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