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Local organizations partnering for worldwide autism research

Five local organizations are partnering for autism research and to understand the causes of autism spectrum disorder.

Posted: Oct 17, 2019 10:56 PM

UTICA, N.Y. - Five local organizations are partnering for autism research and to understand the causes of autism spectrum disorder.

Those five organizations are Masonic Medical Research Institute, The Kelberman Center, The Resource Center for Independent Living, ADHD and Autism Psychological Services and Advocacy, and Upstate Cerebral Palsy.

"The hope will be that we identify things that can actually make a difference in peoples lives," Maria Kontaridis, from the Masonic Medical Research Institute said.

The purpose of this partnership is to understand the mechanisms that cause autism.

Those involved say this collaboration is crucial and will not only benefit autism research, but the community overall by showcasing the innovative leadership within the Mohawk Valley.

"There is a huge advantage to having all of these partners join forces, the first most important thing is we're a basic research lab here, we don't see clinical patients, we don't treat patients here so having access to patient samples and being able to understand whats going on with particular patients through these collaborations, with these institutions, we're able to better partner and find ways to really understand the disease but then also understand what is the most effective way to treat them," Kontaridis said.

Dr. Michael Kelberman from The Kelberman Center says this will have a large impact on individuals with autism and their families.

"Think how special it is to actually be able to create larger change and larger important impacts that we hope to make by actually understanding the disease better, contributing to that body of knowledge right here in Utica, New York," Kelberman said.

The research will be conducted at the Masonic Medical Research Institute in Utica and having all of these different organizations working together will help with different areas of research.

"To come up with an opportunity like that is very special to us. discoveries come from all different corners and take all different sorts of people to contribute towards that goal so this is a great partnership," Kelberman said.

According to those involved in the collaboration, the research isn't just to benefit the Mohawk Valley, but communities worldwide and the work has already started.

"We already reached out to a lot of families all over the United States and the world and what we are doing is, we are getting their blood samples, and then we are isolating their DNA and then we are sequencing to find out which gene is causing the disease," Gulhan Ercan-Sencicek, Masonic's autism researcher said.

The overall goal is to conduct further research that will hopefully lead to better treatments and possibly a cure.

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