Cell El Ltd. is happy to announce that we are now recruiting infant siblings of children diagnosed with ASD and their mothers for our diagnostic research of ASD biomarkers. The infants (age 10-18 months) have an older sibling diagnosed with ASD and therefore are considered high risk for developing ASD as well.
“Specifically, the risk of ASD in children having a family member with ASD is, compared to the general population, increased 8-fold when the family member is a sibling and 2-fold when the family member is a cousin. This increase in ASD risk is substantially larger for children with an affected sister compared to children with an affected brother.” (For more information read: Recurrence risk of autism in siblings and cousins: a multi-national, population-based study.)
In our study we will test the blood, urine and stool of an infant sibling. We will screen them with a tool called the MCHAT to document any early signs of ASD already at that early age. Cell-El will follow up with the family when the infant reaches age 3.5 years. This is when ASD is commonly diagnosed according to behavioral signs and symptoms. We will contact these families and request an update as to whether the toddler tested in infancy actually developed/ was diagnosed with ASD. We can then go back and check whether the biomarkers we have already found to be unique in older children with ASD (above age 3 years) were already present earlier on in infancy.
Cell-El will also be testing the mothers who have essentially given birth within a year or so of our blood test. We believe that we may possibly see important signs of immune changes in the mother – especially relatively close to having given birth- which could affect the development of the infant (see information on our website about Non-pathogenic maternal antibodies which may produce disease in infant: / Immunological and autoimmune considerations of Autism Spectrum Disorders.)
We at Cell-El ltd understand how important a clear, early diagnosis is to the child and family in order to enable intervention as early on as possible. Families often sense that something is ‘not right’ with their child often way before a clear diagnosis of ASD is given. This is a significant source of concern and anxiety for all. We hope that Cell-El’s research will pave the way to earlier diagnosis based on objective laboratory testing of biomarkers and enable earlier intervention as well.