In what’s believed to be the largest such effort to date, a clinical trial expected to launch this week will examine the effectiveness of a possible blood test to detect autism.

The 20-site trial is slated to include 660 patients in an attempt to identify children with autism as opposed to other developmental delays through a blood test.

The effort is part of a broader movement to find ways to diagnose kids at younger ages. Experts say earlier diagnosis is important because children with autism respond best to therapy when it begins early.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The new study being sponsored by the company SynapDx is based on findings from several research groups including the work of a team at Boston Children’s Hospital who found that they could accurately differentiate between kids with autism and children with other developmental delays in about two-thirds of cases.

Those behind the initial research say it’s a good starting point, but much more work remains before a diagnosis will be able to be made on biomarkers alone, reports The Wall Street Journal. To read more click here.