Blood Test for Autism Hits Market Later This Year

autism blood test

When parents are first told that their child is diagnosed with autism, it is usually an overwhelming and stressful experience.  Because one in 68 children is born with autism today, doctors are beginning to test for the disease as early as possible.

Early treatment of autism is one of the most important elements of treating the disease, because the child’s brain is still young and pliable. Usually treatment begins at about six months to a year in age, but now a simple blood test developed by San Diego’s Pediatric Bioscience can unveil a predictor of autism far before a fetus has even been developed.

The test screens for “maternal autoantibody-related” autism.  These antibodies reside in the mother’s blood and are responsible for 23 percent of all autism cases. Because changes in a pregnant woman’s immune system could compromise the accuracy of the test, the test is intended to be used before a woman becomes pregnant.

Due to the high rate of children being born with autism today, this test is ideal for planned pregnancies to have possible alternatives, such as using a surrogate mother or opting for adoption.  For women who already have one autistic child, their chances of having another autistic child are about 17 percent.  If they test positive for the antibodies, their chances having another autistic child increase even more to 72 percent.

Immune research led by Judy Van de Water at Pediatric Bioscience has shown that there are seven antibodies related to autism.  They believe that some of these antibodies in pregnant women may attack proteins that are responsible for fetal brain development.  Their new study related to this topic, which was published in the journal of Cerebral Cortex, showed developing mice brains were affected in the glial brain cells of the ventricular zone when the human maternal autoantibodies were tested on them.  The study concluded that this could possibly explain the occurrence of autism.

Although the test is priced at roughly $1,000, insurance companies are expected reimburse families for the cost.  For women who are unable to pay, the cost can also be reduced to make it more affordable.  Currently, there are only behavioral tests available to test for autism in babies and children, making the researchers at Pediatric Bioscience pioneers in the research of autism.  This would be the first, reliable test that involves testing the biology related to autism, and Pediatric Bioscience plans to make the test available to the market later this year after a broad, blind study is conducted this spring.  

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  6. Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

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  7. Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

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  8. Posted March 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

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