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Greenwood Genetic Center partners with Swiss biotech on autism research

Staff Report //April 26, 2018

Greenwood Genetic Center partners with Swiss biotech on autism research

Staff Report //April 26, 2018

The Greenwood Genetic Center and Swiss biotechnology innovator, Stalicla, have signed a research agreement to collaborate on personalized approaches to treating autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Stalicla has developed an algorithm platform based on big data to bring precision medicine to subtypes of autism spectrum disorder patients, according to a news release.

“Over the past 10 years, evidence has accumulated pointing toward alterations in molecular pathways that lead to abnormal cell functioning in ASD,” said Lynn Durham, CEO of Geneva-based Stalicla, in the release. “At Stalicla, we are looking to bring disease-modifying personalized medicine to patients with ASD, one subgroup after the other.”

Durham said she learned about the Greenwood Genetic Center’s similar approach to autism research through a 2017 TEDx talk on personalized medicine by Luigi Boccuto, M.D. and assistant research scientist at the genetic center’s JC Self Research Institute, according to the release. In the talk, Boccuto discussed the center’s findings of the heterogeneous biochemical nature of ASD and that a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment would not prove effective.

Durham said that she recognized through the brief TEDx talk that there was an alignment between the center’s approach to autism and the philosophy of her organization.

“I’m excited to start this project because of the potential revolutionary impact the Stalicla approach offers,” said Boccuto, in the release. Boccuto was named chief scientific officer for Stalicla. “The innovative characterization of ASD patients will act as a catalyst to change research approaches for the treatment of ASD and potentially other neurodevelopmental disorders.”

The collaborators are recruiting new samples and collecting clinical information from the individuals currently in their cohorts. Work has already begun at the Greenwood Genetic Center using several technologies to expand the understanding of the etiology and mechanism of ASD.



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