Berg Pharma, a molecular diagnostics company, has been working on a new approach to understanding autism and identifying novel biomarkers for diagnosis.
The unveiled study conducted by Berg involves assessing tissues from families with children with autism. Researchers hope to analyze more families to validate these biomarkers.
The researchers subjected data driven biological modeling to a bioinformatic module to assess the differences between disease and normal samples. They put more emphasis on proteomic, metabolomic, and lipidomic data rather than genomics. Three key biomarkers were identified: SPTAN1, CORO1A, and GLUD1.
“The identification of biomarkers for autism and similar conditions would form the basis for a paradigm shift in the way we diagnose and likely treat these disorders,” said Stephanie Peabody, lead faculty at Harvard University’s Mind, Brain, Health, and Education course.
“The disorder is currently diagnosed by behavioral observation, and to date no associated biomarkers have been identified and clinically validated,” Berg Biosystems central nervous system diseases program leader Paula P. Perez said in a statement.
Niven R. Narain, president and chief technology officer of Berg Pharma explained that it is Berg’s belief that the fundamental biological workings of autism must be uncovered before any real biomarkers or therapeutics can be realized.
“These highly innovative approaches to exploring the underlying biological abnormalities of autism are revealing new genes and biochemical pathways possibly linked to the disorder,” added Eric Nestler, chairman of the department of neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, “The work presented herein by the Berg research teams is an important start that may lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments.”