Federal Activity – Department of Defense Summary of Activities
Autism Research Projects
The Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) research funding began 15 years ago when $25 million was awarded to breast cancer research. Today, this program funds $127.5 million and is the second largest funder of breast cancer research in the world.
The CDMRP began managing the Department of Defense Autism Research Program (ARP) in 2007 when the Appropriations Conference Committee provided $7.5 million for research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The 2008 allocation was $6.4 million and SafeMinds advocates for increased funding of this important and innovative research program. CDMRP’s mission is to “Provide hope by promoting innovative research, recognizing untapped opportunities, creating partnerships, and guarding the public trust.” The program seeks to complement other funding agencies by identifying and funding targeted research that addresses novel or under investigated areas. The CDMRP has a history of valuing community involvement, an approach that could make all the difference in finding a cure.
This program is unique for its integration of consumer advocates and members of the scientific community throughout their program in evaluating research proposals that promote “need to know” versus “nice to know” science discoveries. SafeMinds directors have been very involved in this program at many different levels. Director Lyn Redwood serves as an appointed member of the Department of Defense (DoD) Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Program (ASDRP) Integration Panel, which advises the DoD on qualified and relevant research projects to fund for Congressionally-designated autism science. Director Dr. Vicky Debold was invited to participate in 2007 and 2008 in the DoD ASDRP’s 2007 and 2008 scientific review panels and in 2008 Director Sallie Bernard was invited to participate in the DoD ASDRP’s small project online grant review panel.
Goals from 2008 sought to promote research that will (1) improve clinical outcomes of ASD, (2) lead to a better understanding of ASD across the lifespan, including adulthood, of an affected individual, and (3) integrate basic science and clinical observations with emphasis in the following areas of research:
- Comorbidity (e.g., manifestations such as gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders, seizures, tics, and immune disorders)
- Targets for Treating (e.g., clinical, molecular, and cellular)
- Biomarkers and Pathology (e.g., brain and other tissues)
- Environment (e.g., clinical and basic toxicology and gene/environment interaction)
More information on this program is available in the ASDRP Annual Report and we encourage our community to sign up for our e-newsletter to receive alerts on research objectives and funding for 2009.