Autism Science Foundation President and Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) member Alison Singer joined all her colleagues on the IACC this week in voting to approve the 2010 Strategic Plan for Autism Research.
The plan calls for upwards of $217 million to be devoted to autism research in 2010. It includes new objectives for identification of behavioral & biological markers, and calls for new studies to improve understanding of the biological pathways of genetic conditions related to autism; studies that target the underlying biological mechanisms that co-occur with autism; and studies that investigate what causes phenotypic variation across individuals who share an identified genetic variant. The new plan cites the need for more research on services and supports, as well as a greater focus on lifespan issues. The committee also added a new chapter to the plan calling for infrastructure investments that will support data sharing among researchers, encourage and enable individuals with ASD and their families to participate in research, and improve the speed with which research findings are disseminated. The new chapter also calls for enhancing and expanding autism surveillance efforts.
The plan does not include any references or objectives that imply that vaccines cause autism, and it does not call for additional vaccine research. “Draft materials submitted to the IACC suggesting vaccines and/or vaccine components were implicated in autism were rejected by the committee because the IACC determined that they were not based on good science,” said Singer.