This issue of CNS Spectrums represents a milestone for both those affected by autism and related disorders and for clinicians and researchers who provide help and support to these individuals. In order to improve the lives of a rapidly increasing number of patients with this diagnosis, it is critical for the medical and research community to apply a collaborative and consistent strategy for clinical studies in autism.
The five articles that follow are a synopsis of the five subcommittees of the Autism Clinical Trials Task Force (ACTTF), a collaborative panel of experts convened by the Cure Autism Now (CAN) foundation in the spring of 2002. These subcommittees focused on key issues in clinical trials of autism, including subject selection, outcome measures, study design, biological measures, and governmental issues. CAN brought together this panel of participants from academia, government, and industry for the ACTTF think tank. The panel was organized and chaired by Eric Hollander, MD, and Ricki Robinson, MD, MPH. The overarching goal was to clarify what was known about the state of the art of the field in this area, what key information was still unknown, and to implement specific approaches and suggestions for studies which would provide information to fill in the missing gaps in our knowledge base.