The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is seeking novel biomedical solutions to preserve the high level of performance and save the lives of Special Operations Forces (SOF) in field environments.
Proposed projects must be unique to the requirements of SOF who typically conduct combat operations in austere, remote locations without timely access to medical evacuation or elevated levels of medical care. It is these far-forward or isolated operations that make SOF medicine unique and result in material solutions characterized by ruggedness, light weight, small volume, and low power requirements.
USSOCOM is also interested in research that will lead to improved techniques and procedures that do not necessarily require new material.
Highlighted research areas of interest include:
Portable Lab Diagnostics: Novel concepts for portable and environmentally stable far forward laboratory diagnostics. Equipment should be extremely portable, ruggedized, use limited or no external power and any reagents should be self-contained and stable in extreme environmental conditions.
Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) Hazards: Development of novel methods and devices for rapid identification and analysis of exposures to OEH hazards. Research must support the development and analysis of hand held field hardened and environmentally stable monitoring devices, dosimetry, and assays for rapid on site identification, and analysis of media that could pose an OEH hazard to SOF personnel such as industrial contaminants, food borne pathogens, toxins, agents, and biological material exposures.
Biological: Sensitive and specific methods of identifying and diagnosing antigens, antibodies, viruses, and bacteria in biological materials, including the development of sensitive and specific immunologic, chemical or biological assays suitable for use by first responders for rapid and reliable diagnostics of potential biological threats both from environmental or patient sample and identification of toxins in biological samples. In addition, there is interest in the research and development of therapeutic measures for treatment of infectious diseases of military importance. This research should include therapeutics with long term efficacy for improved compliance and protection with reduced toxicity based on frequent use of prophylactic medications.
Global Treatment Strategies: Hypotensive resuscitation, optimal fluid(s), uncomplicated shock, non-compressible hemorrhaging and traumatic brain injuries. Strategies must be optimized for patients in austere, far-forward areas who must be treated for extended periods (days, not hours).
Vital Signs Monitoring: Novel concepts for miniaturized and ruggedized vital signs monitors (temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure, capnography, and pulse oximetry) that capture data for later retrieval.
Analgesia: Novel peripherally and centrally acting analgesia that provide easy administration in the field, tolerance of extreme environments, and effectiveness at the point of injury for a prolonged period of field care (days, not hours) and does not sensitize the patient to topical analgesia.
Far Forward Blood: Novel strategies to increase the ease, efficacy, and safety of blood transfusion (i.e. person to person, pre-hospital blood banking, blood substitutes) forward of normal logistics support; e.g., evaluating blood for type/cross matching and for the presence of pathogens to include point of injury AB antibody titer. Projects may also include strategies to separate small amounts of plasma (.2-.5 ml) from a small (5ml) sample of fresh whole blood in austere conditions.
Resuscitation: Novel approaches to perform the following tests listed by priority: Base Deficit, International Normalized Ratio, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Complete Blood Count, and Chem 7.
Force Health Protection and Environmental Medicine. SOF personnel must often operate for extended periods of time in austere environments that expose them to extremes in altitude, temperature, humidity, wind, infectious diseases, toxic industrial compounds, toxic industrial materials, and environmental hazards (including envenomation in marine environment). In addition, the environment may be compromised due to chemical, biological, and radiological contamination. The primary emphasis of this research area is to research, apply and develop techniques, therapeutic measures, and materiel (personal protective equipment (PPE)), medical devices, drugs, and biologics) to ensure sustained human performance and effectiveness while operating in harsh environmental conditions and/or wearing appropriate PPE. Additional research opportunities include identification and characterization of specific risk profiles/threats associated with SOF unique mission sets.
Optimal Acclimatization Strategy: Novel approaches that provide rapid and sustainable human acclimatization for extremes in temperature, altitude and time-zone change (circadian acclimatization).
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema/High Altitude Cerebral Edema. Novel treatment approaches, either pharmaceutical interventions or alternative treatments, for high-altitude pulmonary edema and/or high altitude cerebral edema.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) Rapid Diagnostics, Treatment, and Prophylaxis: Novel approaches that will diagnose, treat and protect human exposure to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives in near real time.
Patient Decontamination: Novel approaches for CBRN patient decontamination under austere conditions where climate extremes are possible and traditional decontamination techniques are not suitable.
Universal Antivenin: Novel approaches that can be used for the treatment of undetermined envenomation; antivenin must be temperature stable, portable, easy to reconstitute, and require a reasonable/limited amount of training.
Extended Care: SOF medical personnel require capabilities for far-forward medical care to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with major battlefield wounds, injuries and diseases. The primary emphasis is to research, apply and/or develop medical techniques, drugs, biologics and field sustainable, rapidly deployable materiels (medical devices) for extended care beyond trauma resuscitation and in disease endemic areas where casualty evacuation is delayed or unavailable.
Projects must be for scientific study and experimentation directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution.
Further details are available under Solicitation Number: W81XWHUSSOCOMBAA141.