The Dialysis-Like Therapeutics (DLT) program aims to support force protection and military readiness by improving critical care in low-resource environments and delivering a new tool for rapid response to emerging infectious disease threats. DLT specifically addresses a life-threatening blood infection known as sepsis, but DARPA is working to expand the DLT technology to also mitigate threats from harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxic agents in the blood.
The portable DLT device works by scrubbing contaminated blood outside of the body—a process in which nanoparticles in the device selectively bind and remove harmful pathogens or toxins as blood flows over them—then returning clean blood back to the patient. The result is similar to standard dialysis treatment for kidney failure applied in traditional hospital settings, but without the extensive infrastructure and resources that treatment requires.
The DLT program has pioneered breakthroughs in high-flow fluid manipulation using novel biocompatible and biomimetic architectures and advanced surface functionalization chemistries, and continuous removal of pathogens, toxins, activated cells, exosomes, and cytokines using a diverse suite of "label-free" technologies such as synthetic mannose binding lectins and selective adsorption cartridges.
The integration and validation of these component technologies focuses on establishing a path to an Investigational Device Exemption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If successful, the DLT device will become available to military medical commands to conduct the clinical trials required for final regulatory approval.
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