PHILADELPHIA–()–The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) has been awarded a research grant of $275,000 to continue to support efforts of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Office of Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aimed at furthering the research of the causes and behavioral associations with individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). NDRI has been consistently supported by the NIH to support Autism research since 2016.

“As the number of individuals diagnosed with autism continues to grow, the need for understanding through research is critical,” said Bill Leinweber, President and CEO of NDRI. “We are privileged to continue to expand our work to provide urgently needed human tissue to advance neurologically related research.”

With this award, NDRI will continue to provide the NIH Neurobiobanks with post-mortem brains recovered from donors with a history of ASD that will further research into the etiology of the disease. A second objective of this work is to collaborate with leading medical research institutions and healthcare professionals to identify and recover age-match control brains.

“It is indeed a privilege for NDRI to be awarded support from the NIH to further leverage the impact of our longstanding efforts to support investigators with the biospecimens needed to advance discovery,” said Mary Hendrix, PhD, President of Shepherd University and Chair of the NDRI Board of Directors.

This grant is in addition to a current five-year $6.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded to fund NDRI’s Human Tissue and Organs for Research Resource (HTORR) program. This program has been funded by the NIH for over 30 consecutive years to support research programs across multiple disciplines. Through the HTORR program, NDRI provides academic biomedical investigators with donated normal and diseased human tissues and organs recovered from a diverse donor pool using customized procurement, processing, and preservation and distribution protocols.

“The continuous support for the HTORR ASD program by NIH asseverates our partnership for this critical resource,” said Thomas Bell, MS PhD, NDRI’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and principal investigator for the HTORR grant. “Experimental analysis on human biospecimens is a substantially underutilized approach to conduct research and develop new treatment options for ASD, due to the challenges associated with obtaining the appropriate human biospecimens. Our ongoing partnership helps address this gap for the NIH and ASD research community.”

About NDRI

The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is the nation’s leading source of human tissues, cells and organs for scientific research. A not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1980, NDRI is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, public and private foundations and organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations. NDRI is a 24/7 operation that partners with a nationwide network of over 130 tissue source sites (TSS), including organ procurement organizations (OPOs), tissue banks, eye banks, and hospitals. The TSS, are distributed throughout the USA, in 45 states, with concentrations in major metropolitan areas on both the east and west coasts. Their wide geographic distribution allows NDRI to provide biospecimens from donor populations with diverse demographics and also facilitates the timely and efficient provision of fresh tissues directly to researchers across the U.S. and around the world. By serving as the liaison between procurement sources and the research community, NDRI is uniquely positioned to support breakthrough advances and discoveries that can affect advances in the treatment and cure of human diseases.

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