Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Prevention and Therapy

Biomedical technologies designed to thwart initial infection or injury, or enable faster healing afterward

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A research team at the University of Washington has harnessed complex computational methods to design customized proteins that can self-assemble into 120-subunit “icosahedral” structures inside living cells—the biggest, self-booting, intracellular protein nanocages ever made. The breakthrough offers a potential solution to a pressing scientific challenge: how to safely and efficiently deliver to cells new and emerging biomedical treatments such as DNA vaccines and therapeutic interfering particles.
Pressure—the physical quantity of an experience of touch—is a fundamental dimension of human perception, conveying to the brain not just that the skin is in contact with something, but also how intense the contact is. That awareness is what enables people to, for instance, gently but securely handle an egg without squeezing so hard that the shell cracks.
Over the past several years, DARPA-funded researchers have pioneered RNA vaccine technology, a medical countermeasure against infectious diseases that uses coded genetic constructs to stimulate production of viral proteins in the body, which in turn can trigger a protective antibody response. As a follow-on effort, DARPA funded research into genetic constructs that can directly stimulate production of antibodies in the body
Avian influenza (H7N9). MERS coronavirus. Ebola. Hepatitis E. Yellow Fever. Lassa. Zika. When you consider the viral infectious diseases that emerged and reemerged around the world in 2017 alone, what many of them have in common is that they originated in animals and spilled over into humans after a series of mutations that enable the pathogens to jump species.
The increasing threat of infectious diseases is intensifying the need for breakthrough technologies and capabilities to protect first responders and equip them with therapeutics that can halt the impact of infectious agents. Current approaches for recent public health emergencies due to infectious diseases have not produced effective preventive or therapeutic solutions in a relevant timescale. Examples from recent outbreaks such as H3N2 (flu), Ebola, and Zika viruses highlight the significant lag in deployment and efficacy of life-saving solutions.