Patients with autism, relatives of autistic individuals (within the broader spectrum of autistic symptomatology), Asperger’s patients, researchers, clinicians, and allied personnel that work with autistic patients. The CECN is a multidisciplinary effort that encompasses both patients and practitioners.
A rational approach to developing treatment and even a cure for the disorder must be built on the understanding of its pathogenesis. Hence the prominence that genetic and basic neuroscience research has at this stage. As in other areas of medicine, to be clinically relevant, basic research findings will have to be translated into novel diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The challenges of the bench-to-bedside translation cannot be underestimated. For certain disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome and cystic fibrosis, the genes have been identified a number of years ago, but no specific treatment has been thus far derived from this knowledge. Indeed, research to turn basic science findings into clinically useful discoveries has become a top priority across the biomedical field, with implications also for autism research.