The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has signed an agreement to establish a collaborative, nationwide effort for the collection, storage and distribution of postmortem human brain tissue for the benefit of autism research.
The agreement with Foundation Associates will coordinate the efforts of two independent networks of human brain tissue repositories, the National Institutes of Health NeuroBioBank (NBB) and the Autism BrainNet (ABN).
The pace of research is dependent on the availability of high-quality brain tissue, and the need for donor tissue from individuals both with and without an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has never been greater. The collaboration will leverage the advantages of public and private efforts to collect vital brain specimens to advance our understanding of ASD and related disorders.
Since its 2013 launch, the NIH NBB has increased the quality and quantity of human brain tissue available for neurological, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric research. Multiple brain tissue repositories in the NIH NBB network, located in academic research sites across the country, have accomplished that feat by working in unison to raise public awareness of brain donation and its benefits to human brain disease research.
Now, the NIH NBB and ABN—a consortium of academic research sites that collect, store and distribute tissue specifically for ASD research—will jointly redouble their efforts to ensure best practices around the collection and distribution of those resources. The ABN initiative is directed by David Amaral, Ph.D., research director of the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, and supported by Autism Speaks and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.
NBB is supported by NIMH, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.