Many autistic people tell us that effective therapies for common difficulties would help them live a better life. This project aims to offer personalised approaches for autistic people.
To develop personalised treatments we need to understand why autistic people are biologically different from each other. AIMS-2-TRIALS will bring together researchers, charities and companies across Europe to improve our understanding of autism and develop new therapies. The project is funded by the EU, pharmaceutical companies and charities and is the largest ever grant given to autism research – €115 million.
We want society to change their attitudes towards autism but we also want effective therapies and drugs available to those who need and want them. By doing this, we can answer big questions such as:
- Can differences in the brain explain epilepsy and help us develop new treatments?
- Will brain signals enable us to predict which mental health therapies will work?
- Can we get researchers across Europe to understand and address your the priorities?
How is Autistica contributing and why?
In our research strategy we promise to focus on your priorities: mental health, physical health, language and communication. This project will address these areas. Autistica is contributing £50,000 in staff time and resources. Our role in the partnership is to ensure that AIMS-2-TRIALS focuses on community priorities and involves autistic people and families at every stage. As Europe’s only autism research funder, it is essential for us to be involved in the conversation.
How can I get involved?
All members of our Autistica Network will receive updates on AIMS-2 and sent any opportunities to take part in studies. Join the Autistica Network today.
Who funded AIMS-2-TRIALS?
The €115 million grant for AIMS-2-TRIALS has been awarded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative. This European Union funding matches contributions from the pharmaceutical industry and autism charities (Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks, and Autistica). Of course, different partners have different focuses but they all commit to meaningfully improving autistic people’s lives. We cannot deliver certain new therapies for autistic people unless we work in partnership with researchers, major organisations and pharmaceutical companies.
Is the project just developing drugs for autism?
No, this project will improve our overall understanding of autism. It will lay the ground for different types of research. It will lead to changes in government policy and funding, which will improve the support that autistic people and their families receive.
What kind of drugs is the project working on?
Some people want drug treatments to address specific problems such as anxiety or epilepsy, or to assist with language and communication issues. Others may not want or need drugs. The research studies within AIMS-2 are looking at a variety of therapies in a range of different groups. Giving autistic people choice is a big part of why this research is so important.
Is the project aiming to prevent autism?
No, autistic people bring great diversity to society and we wouldn't want autistic people's unique strengths to be affected by any therapy. Autism is so complex that a test for autism is very unlikely to ever be scientifically possible anyway. We also know it's not a priority for our community.
How do I know that each study is ethical?
In this project all partners are committed to developing knowledge and therapies which can meaningfully improve autistic people’s lives. There is an independent ethics board who approve each project, this board includes autistic members.
I’ve heard about a project called EU-AIMS, is this related?
EU-AIMS was also funded through the Innovative Medicines Initiative. The project established a European-wide research network and the world’s largest studies on autism leading to significant advances in our understanding of autism. We were not involved with this project.
Are Autistica receiving any funding for being involved in this project?
No, we are contributing time and resources to this project but will not receive anything in return. We believe that this is something worth being involved in for the benefit of autistic people and their allies - those who we exist to serve.