The ADEPT program aims to create the technology base required to help medical professionals outpace the spread of natural or engineered diseases and toxins. ADEPT has four primary components:
ADEPT - DxOD aims to enable adaptable, diagnostic devices that decrease the time required to design, manufacture, and rapidly distribute test panels in response to evolving or emerging diagnostic needs. The program is addressing diagnostic technologies for use in two settings: diagnostics tailored for self-testing in limited resource areas, such as a battlefield or home, and those suitable for point-of-care clinical settings. Both efforts will use testing on site (at home/battlefield or at a clinical site) with electronic linkage for result reporting and data aggregation for surveillance. An additional thrust of the DxOD effort includes capabilities to preserve, ship, archive and recover biomarkers from a self-collected biospecimen, such as a finger-prick blood sample.
ADEPT - CCM-V aims to develop new RNA-based platforms for vaccine design and manufacture. RNA-based platforms are produced much more rapidly than current protein-based vaccines, and these platforms use the body to produce the proteins typically included in conventional vaccines. This platform can decrease vaccine production time from years to weeks. The potential advantages of RNA-based vaccines include not only the ability to encode the antigen—the component of the infectious disease or toxin necessary to initiate a series of cellular steps resulting in lasting immunity—but also to enhance the robustness of the immune response. Synthetic biology techniques and encoded elements could control the individual's immune response to the antigen, thereby ensuring that each individual develops an effective response to the vaccine.
ADEPT - CCM-DT seeks to develop new methodologies for the rapid and facile engineering of mammalian cells to detect and treat disease in vivo. This program is developing multiple component technologies, including genome-editing tools for ready cellular manipulation, regulatory elements and synthetic circuits that behave in a predictable and minimally disruptive manner, cell sentinel components to autonomously monitor cell state, and methods to modulate cell state using a controlled cellular response. Results from this program are being applied to engineering red blood cell precursors as a diagnostic and therapeutic platform, engineering a human artificial chromosome as a well-characterized delivery vector with nearly limitless delivery capacity, and improving the performance and control of nucleic acid-based vectors for vaccines and immune prophylaxis.
ADEPT - PROTECT aims to overcome the challenges of passive immunization and provide immediate immunity that is rapidly scalable to an entire population. This program is developing approaches for delivering nucleic acid constructs to an immunologically naïve person in formats that are not permanent, expressed from reusable platforms (i.e., an immune response is not elicited against the platform itself), and capable of producing the necessary panel of antibodies or other immune molecules at sufficient levels and lengths of time required for protection. New efforts focusing on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and Ebola take advantage of the need and ability for rapid response.
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