Only two drug therapies are currently approved for use in autism, and neither one targets the core features of autism: social challenges, communication problems and repetitive or restricted behaviors. Complementary and alternative therapies are widely used, despite little evidence supporting their efficacy and safety. A faster method for evaluating promising new therapies for autism is urgently needed, as clinic-based randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are expensive and extremely slow. Stephen Bent and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, aim to develop high-quality, rapid and inexpensive RCTs of therapies for autism entirely over the Internet. The Interactive Autism Network (IAN), an online autism registry that includes more than 13,000 well-characterized children with autism, is already being used to recruit children for clinic-based studies and for online survey research. Previous studies using the IAN have established methods for validating autism spectrum diagnoses. The researchers plan to develop the IAN infrastructure to enable Internet-based RCTs. Their goals are to build an online platform that will support recruitment and management of participants, including online informed consent and data collection, and to develop an online adverse-event reporting system. The researchers plan to test and eventually improve all aspects of such a system through a pilot study of omega-3 fatty acids, a dietary supplement commonly used in children with autism. Such technologies could markedly improve the speed and reduce the cost of evaluating the efficacy of autism interventions, thus making clinical trials available to families regardless of geographical location or socioeconomic status.