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AIMS-2-TRIALS- Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials (2018-2023)

AIMS-2-TRIALS stands for Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials. It began in June 2018 and will run until May 2023.

The research programme includes a range of studies carried out by different groups. These will explore how autism develops, from before birth to adulthood, and how this varies in different people.The project will look for biological markers which indicate whether a person has or may develop particular characteristics. These markers could help to identify who may ultimately benefit from particular treatments. AIMS-2-TRIALS will also test medicines to help with social difficulties, repetitive behaviours and sensory processing.

To accelerate medicine development, AIMS-2-TRIALS will build a network of connected people across Europe and beyond. AIMS-2-TRIALS will put Europe at the forefront of autism research.

Project objectives

  • Understand how autism, and its co-occurring health conditions, develop from before birth into adulthood
  • Identify features of autism that can be measured, called biomarkers
  • Test new medicines for those who may choose to use them
  • Build a network to connect researchers, clinicians and the autism community
  • Prepare Europe to pioneer large clinical trials of future medicines
  • Improve and accelerate the process of developing new medicines
  • Analyse and manage the data collected in research
  • Explore how policies on autism can better support autistic people
  • Develop educational tools to improve understanding of autism
  • Put Europe at the forefront of autism research

The key objectives were defined by our main funder, the Innovative Medicines Initiative. Many of these objectives correspond with the priorities of the autism community. The project partnership will work with representatives of the community and attempt to integrate their views into its future work.

AIMS-2-TRIALS position on a cure for autism

Project partners know that while some people want a cure for themselves, their child or a relative, there are others who are opposed to this. AIMS-2-TRIALS does not aim to cure autism. Partners do aim to understand autism better and to test medical treatments that could alleviate specific difficulties that some autistic people experience.

The core characteristics of autism are part of an autistic person’s unique personality. However, in some people, these traits can become symptoms that are disabling or cause distress. AIMS-2-TRIALS will test whether medical treatments could help with some of these unwanted symptoms. Its work could also help to inform the future development of non-medical options.

Autism-Europe’s role

Autism-Europe is involved in Project 5, Policy and communication, notably by:

  • Contributing to the creation and activities of the first European-wide autism community consultation group, the Autism Representatives Group (A-Reps), that will be providing input on various aspects of the project across work packages.
  • Drafting policy recommendations addressed to the EU and its member states to reduce health inequalities and improve the lives of autistic people across Europe, in cooperation with the A-reps, the University of Cambridge, and Autistica.
  • Contributing to the development of an international educational programme addressing the educational needs and interests of key stakeholders. We will co-design and provide training materials for different audiences including the public, the autism community, medical professionals, and researchers.
  • Supporting dissemination of information related to the project to interested stakeholders