George Mason University (GMU) has been awarded a $7.6M contract for translational peptide research and development by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The program goal is for development of novel broad-spectrum antimicrobials for use against combat wound infections and exposure to biothreat agents utilizing cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs).
According to researchers at GMU, CAMPs are a natural time-tested model for defending against bacterial infections since bacteria have failed to develop widespread resistance to such peptides. CAMPs are essential components in the first line of defense against infection in higher organisms, and constitute a valuable resource in the development of advanced broad-spectrum antimicrobials.
The research program will identify and produce new CAMPs, which in turn will be rigorously evaluated to determine their effectiveness in protecting against combat wound infections and biothreat agents.
The project will utilize GMU’s new state of the art GMU Biomedical Research Laboratory (BRL), a biocontainment laboratory featuring over 20,000 square feet of lab space managed by Mason’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases (NCBID); and will leverage GMU’s unique capability to team across multidisciplinary lines such as nanoscience, bioinformatics, and systems biology.
The contract was awarded under HDTRA1-12-C-0039 and is expected to be completed by February 2017.