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Historically, organ and tissue donation programs have played a critical role in research efforts that are focused on finding treatments and cures for many diseases and disorders.  By utilizing the donated tissue procured by these programs, scientists have been able to exceed the constraints of other technologies and directly study the human condition on both a cellular and molecular level.  In many cases, it is the only way in which key insights into our understanding of the human brain and autism can be gained.  Although the prevalence rate of autism has dramatically increased during the past two decades, basic research has lagged behind due to a scarcity of brain tissue for autism research. 

The Autism Tissue Program (ATP), a science program of Autism Speaks, was conceived to address this critical impedance to autism research by making post-mortem brain tissue available to as many qualified scientists as possible.  Working directly with tissue banks, organ procurement agencies, medical examiners and the general public, this is the largest program dedicated to increasing and enhancing the availability of post-mortem brain tissue for basic research in autism.

To date, the ATP has collected and stored more than 170 brains in our repositories at Harvard (US) and Oxford (UK).  These brains are processed by formalin fixation and/or snap frozen to properly provide high quality tissue of all brain regions, in support of biological research in autism.   The ATP is unique in that we diligently pursue all available clinical data (pre and post mortem) on tissue donors in order to create the most biologically relevant brain repository for autism research.  These data, together with tissue resources from both banks and associated repositories, are presented to all interested researchers through our extensive web-based data portal (login required).

If you would like to learn more about the ATP and how we may help advance your research, have additional questions that are not answered by this website, or would like to speak with one of our advisors, please email us at info@autismtissueprogram.org or call us directly at 1-877-333-0999.