The university of Chicago is also adding a biomedical center for this.. anticipated 07 opening. The Autism Treatment Network Brings Together Leading Physicians And Medical Centers to Improve Medical Treatment for Autism Strategic Alliance Formed With Cure Autism Now to Accelerate ATNâs Work SEATTLE â Jan, 2005 â Formation of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN), a national, nonprofit organization designed to support collaboration to improve treatment for autism, was announced today. ATN is the nationâs first network of hospitals and physicians that aims to bridge gaps in knowledge and understanding and improve treatment for individuals with autism. ATN includes physicians and healthcare practitioners from five leading medical centers that have come together to evaluate the medical conditions present in autism, and provide best practices for their identification and treatment. ATN plans to create treatment guidelines that will be made broadly available to physicians, researchers, parents, policy-makers and others dedicated to enhancing the medical care of individuals with autism. Autism is one of the fastest growing childhood disorders in the United States, affecting as many as 1 in 166 children (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). However, treatment and access to treatment for children with autism remains inconsistent across the nation. âBecause of the dramatic rise in autism rates in the United States during the past decade, we have seen increased attention to research and education; however, treatment has not received the same focus and investment,â said Richard Fade, co-founder of ATN. âThere are hundreds of thousands of children and families struggling with autism. They face a tremendous challenge, as considerable gaps remain in understanding how best to treat this disorder. This is especially true with regard to medical issues. By establishing collaboration among leading hospitals, ATN will create a better standard of care for autism and help make that care broadly available.â âATN represents the start of a cooperative venture to study and create new treatments for autism,â said Dr. Margaret Bauman of Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. âIt took focused leadership to bring together the many individual units studying childrenâs cancers 30 years ago and have them cooperate in studying new treatments. Today there are dramatic improvements in the survival of children with cancers. Many people and programs are doing important research on mechanisms of childhood autism â but so far none have developed a strong collaboration among centers focused on treating medical conditions in a similar way that revolutionized the care of childhood cancer.â The Autism Treatment Network and Cure Autism Now Announce Strategic Alliance Cure Autism Now, one of the leading funders of autism research in the United States, and ATN today announced they have entered into strategic alliance to accelerate the work of ATN. The alliance will take advantage of the research capabilities and collaborative protocols that Cure Autism Now has developed over the past 10 years. âOur achievements over the past 10 years prove that science can be accelerated,â said Peter Bell, CEO and executive director of Cure Autism Now. âFamilies want more access to treatments that work, and the ATN medical protocol will provide more effective treatment options,â continued Bell, who will sit on the ATN board. âWith the establishment of evidence-based treatments, our families will one day have effective treatments available to them within driving distance of their homes.â âCure Autism Now is the voice that will connect the treatment approach that ATN develops with the needs of families and children with autism across the country,â said David Humphrey, co-founder of ATN. âThe organization has a long and successful track record of leadership in funding research, education and political advocacy. It immediately understood the potential of the collaborative model and the value of our focus on treatment. Cure Autism Now has great knowledge and experience to apply to this effort in addition to its development support. We are very excited about Cure Autism Nowâs help and partnership.â Treatment Experts Form Network ATN will include regional âcenters of excellence,â where physicians will establish state-of-the-art care, conduct clinical research and mentor trainees. The initial treatment approach is based on a comprehensive model employed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (MGH), one of the nationâs most respected programs. Other founding centers in the network include Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland; Columbia University Medical Center, New York; Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon; and the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle. ATN physicians and clinicians will work to establish common practice guidelines and a database to enable the team to better understand the nature and scope of health issues in autism. Physician conferences will be held to discuss treatment and outcomes related to various medical interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum. Ultimately, ATN hopes to produce treatment guidelines for autism based on credible research and rigorous clinical trials. Collaborative Approach Supported by Government and Patient Advocacy Leaders ATNâs mission and model have been well received and have earned the support of professionals, academic institutions, community and advocacy organizations in the field. âResearch teams across the United States are focused on the critical work of discovering the underlying mechanisms resulting in autism; that work will be crucial in the future,â said Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health and chair of the federal governmentâs Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. âCollaboration, as it is structured and supported through ATNâs model, should improve the quality of treatment and increase awareness of treatment options. We are enthusiastic about this collaborative effort, and we look forward to partnering with ATN to foster greater accessibility of new and better treatments developed through research.â About Autism Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects an individual in the areas of social interaction and communication. Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects each individual differently and to varying degrees of severity. Autism affects an estimated 1 in 166 births (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). This means that as many as1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism. About the ATN Founded in 2004, the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to filling the gap in medical care for individuals with autism. Inspired by the success of the Childrenâs Cancer Network and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, ATNâs goal is to create the needed infrastructure so that physicians and researchers can share best practices and treatment protocols, and ultimately raise the quality and availability of proven autism treatments. The network includes the following centers: Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland; Columbia University Medical Center, New York; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon and the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. More information on the Autism Treatment Network is available at http://www.autismtreatmentnetwork.org. About Cure Autism Now Cure Autism Now is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and funding autism research and accelerating the pace of scientific progress toward effective treatments and a cure for autism. The organization is one of the leading private funders of biological research in autism, providing more than $20 million for research grants, education, outreach and scientific resources, including the establishment and ongoing support of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Cure Autism Now has chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco, Calif., New Jersey, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Seattle, Maryland/D.C. area, and Honolulu. For more information about Cure Autism Now, please visit http://www.cureautismnow.org.