The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) is soliciting innovative research proposals to develop nanostructured therapeutic materials designed for prophylactic or pre-symptomatic chemical and biological medical countermeasures.
The DTRA funding initiative for Nanostructured Active Therapeutic Vehicles (NATV) was announced this week under existing Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) HDTRA1-12-CHEM-BIO-BAA.
Nanomaterials have the potential to dramatically impact the field of targeted drug delivery for medical countermeasures. They can be designed to have dimensions commensurate with relevant biomolecules and can interact with and mimic properties of biomolecules present in cellular systems.
Development of NATVs under this program will address the enduring challenge of targeting countermeasures to a specific cell, tissue, and organ; enabling delivery of a higher dose to target and reducing the potential for systemic and off-target toxicity.
For the ultimate performance goal of the NATV program, designs for achieving multiple objective capabilities may result in conflicting parameter requirements, necessitating innovation in areas such as multistage release or multiple encapsulation technologies. Additionally, DTRA is interested in taking advantage of modeling and design tools, high-content data analysis techniques, and new testing modalities (for example, novel cellular assays) for accurate determination of NATV behavior.
The NATV program seeks advancement of nanomaterial vehicles that will be demonstrated through one of two target-centric thrusts:
Thrust 1: Small-molecule antibiotics, such as those used against Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, particularly Burkholderia mallei and Francisella tularensis. A particular challenge in this thrust is demonstration of targeting infected cells and transport of the therapeutic into the bacterium.
Thrust 2: Large-molecule bioscavenger Butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) to deliver broad spectrum protection against all classes of nerve agents.
DTRA states interest in aggressive, innovative proposals that combine fundamental understanding of the NATV landscape with concrete capability demonstrations. Proposals that offer only incremental advances over state of the art will not be considered for funding. A Pre-Proposal Conference will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 from 8:00 AM-12:00 in Lorton, Virginia.