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BAA – U.S. Army Extramural Medical Research

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s (USAMRMC) has announced an updated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to fund solutions to medical problems of importance to the military servicemembers at home and abroad, as well as to the general public at large.

Projects funded under this BAA must be for scientific study and experimentation in areas described below, directed toward advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on a specific system or hardware solution.

Military Infectious Diseases Research Program

The Military Infectious Diseases Research Program (MIDRP) focuses on vaccines, anti-parasitic drugs, deployable field clinical diagnostics (human and vector), prophylactics and novel therapeutics to treat multidrug-resistant organisms in combat wound infections, as well as vector control pertinent to naturally occurring endemic diseases with demonstrated or potential capability to decrease military operational effectiveness.

Research efforts are needed in novel technologies for the prevention, treatment, and detection of naturally occurring infectious diseases. Areas of interest include norovirus and other viral diarrhea, Q fever (Coxiella burnetii), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, protozoal diarrhea, Rickettsiosis, Chikungunya virus, adenovirus, scrub typhus and technologies that leverage current research efforts in malaria, dengue, bacterial diarrhea, and HIV.

Proposals for applications involving viral and bacterial biowarfare threats, chemical threats, and cancer research are not supported by the MIDRP.

R&D of Therapeutic Measures for Infectious Diseases

For the MIDRP, therapeutic drug development such as studies to screen, synthesize, and develop therapeutic drugs for malaria and other military-relevant infectious agents is secondary to prophylactic development.

However, proposals dealing with novel drug delivery systems (i.e., sustained-release and methods of targeting drugs to reduce toxicity or delivery of drugs of clinical importance to the active sites) would be considered.

In addition, MIDRP supports investigations focusing on development of novel medical countermeasures and innovative treatment approaches (e.g., chelators, antibody, phage, antimicrobial peptides, quorum-sensing inhibitors, and host immunoaugmentation, etc.) for multidrug-resistant organisms in combat wound infections and/or biofilm formation, maintenance, or propagation.

Given the tepid interest of the pharmaceutical industry to develop and market vaccines for diseases in areas of low commercial gain, the MIDRP is also interested in proposals and products toward finding treatment options for infectious diseases that are likely to lead to U.S. Food and Drug Administration-licensable, broadly active therapeutics against multiple endemic disease threats.

Medical Biological Defense Research Program

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD) manages research directed toward medical biological defense. In addition to separate BAAs sponsored by DTRA, the DTRA JSTO-CBD has limited funding for proposals/applications submitted through this USAMRMC BAA.

The Medical Biological Defense Research Program (MBDRP) provides medical countermeasures for biological warfare agents. The priorities of the program are prophylaxis or pretreatment to prevent any casualty; identification and diagnosis of biological agents; and treatment or supportive care regimens.

Examples of some of the infectious agents of interest are those causing anthrax, plague, glanders; the Ebola, Marburg, Venezuelan, western and eastern equine encephalitis viruses; and poxvirus models of variola virus. Examples of toxins of interest include those from plants (Ricin) and bacteria (Staphylococcal enterotoxins, botulinum).

Specific areas of interest to MBDRP include:

  • Molecular antigenic analysis
  • Development of diagnostic assays
  • Studies on structure and function that are related to mechanism of action, binding, internalization and interaction with the immune system and neutralizing antibodies
  • Vaccine development, with emphasis on protection from agents in aerosol exposure, molecular approaches for development of vaccines, measurement of relevant cellular and humoral protective immune responses, and expression or production of protective antigens using recombinant technology
  • Polyvalent vaccines that are more broadly effective
  • Safer means of passive immunization such as production of human monoclonal or modified antibodies that are despeciated
  • Identification of surrogate markers of protection for the agents identified above
  • Improved methods for delivery of vaccines, including adjuvants, nucleic acid vaccines, methods for oral or nasal immunization with inactivated, live, and subunit antigens
  • Methods for delivery of antigens for specific induction of mucosal immunity and development of methods to enhance appropriate immune responses to include co-delivery of cytokines
  • Preparation of research quantities of highly purified and characterized toxins
  • Development, synthesis, and testing of compounds that possess antiviral, antibacterial, immunomodulatory or antitoxin activities (computational chemistry, combinatorial organic synthesis, high-throughput in vitro screening and X-ray analysis of ligand-toxin co-crystals)
  • Mechanism of action studies of immunomodulators, including characterization of effector cells (lymphocytes, macrophages) effector mechanisms, ancillary effects on other cells of the immune system and production and characterization of cytokines released as a consequence of immunomodulation
  • Development of sensitive and specific immunologic, chemical, or biological assays
  • Biosurveillance algorithms for rapid identification of baseline deviation; novel/unknown pathogens, naturally occurring versus intentional release.
  • Models to predict the likelihood of an outbreak, forecast the associated epidemic curves and impacts of interventions, and update forecast based on field (and simulated) data
  • Applications to engage citizens via social media, crowd sourcing, gaming, etc.
  • Basic research addressing long-term challenges in biosurveillance
  • Analytic applications to synthesize and interrogate multiple sources of data to provide high confidence in the prediction, early warning and forecasting of disease events.

Medical Chemical Defense Research Program

The DTRA JSTO-CBD manages research directed toward medical chemical defense. The DTRA JSTO-CBD has limited funding for proposals/applications submitted through this USAMRMC BAA.

The Medical Chemical Defense Research Program (MCDRP) seeks to preserve combat effectiveness by timely provision of medical countermeasures in response to Joint Service chemical warfare defense requirements.

Topics of specific interest to MCDRP include:

  • Sites and mechanisms of action and effects of exposure to chemical warfare agents
  • Sites and mechanisms of action of medical countermeasures
  • Exploiting molecular biological and biotechnological approaches for development of new approaches for medical countermeasures to chemical warfare agents
  • Molecular modeling and quantitative structure-activity relationships in support of drug discovery and design
  • New concepts for prophylaxes, pretreatments, antidotes, and therapeutic countermeasures
  • Development of skin protectants and decontaminants
  • Identification of factors which influence safety and efficacy of candidate medical countermeasures
  • Development and maintenance of preformulation, formulation, and radiolabeling capabilities
  • Diagnostic and prognostic indicators for chemical warfare agent casualties
  • Life-support equipment for definitive care of chemical warfare agent casualties
  • Developing innovative models of the pathophysiology of vesicant agent injury
  • Characterizing and developing treatments for the ocular lesions associated with vesicant agent exposures
  • Characterizing nerve agent-induced seizures to identify medical countermeasures against seizures
  • Developing catalytic or stoichiometric chemical warfare agent scavengers from biological molecules (e.g., antibodies and enzymes) that provide protection against nerve agent incapacitation and lethality for extended periods following their administration.
  • Developing skin protectants, or decontaminants, to protect against chemical warfare agents, especially vesicant and nerve agents.
  • Identifying, exploring, and developing innovative clinical diagnostic, prognostic and management approaches to nerve agent casualties

Radiation Health Effects Research Program

The Radiation Health Effects Research Program (RHERP) focuses on developing medical countermeasures for acute ionizing radiation injury.

The program has interest in the following research focus areas:

  • Post-exposure mitigation of radiation injury
  • Protection and prevention of injury from ionizing radiation exposure (prophylaxis)
  • Understanding mechanism of radiation injury
  • Development of novel biodosimetry tools

The RHERP is interested in proposals/applications and products incorporating a systems biology approach.

Combat Casualty Care Research Program

A primary emphasis of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP) is to identify and develop medical techniques and materials for early intervention in life-threatening battle injuries.

Because battlefield conditions impose severe constraints on available manpower, equipment, and medical supplies available for casualty care, the CCCRP places a premium techniques and materiel that can be used by combat medics must be easily transportable (small, lightweight, and durable in extreme environments and handling); devices must be easy to use, low maintenance, with self-contained power sources as necessary.

The CCCRP is interested in existing material for which concept and/or patient care efficacy have already been demonstrated, but require improvement to meet military constraints.

Research efforts are needed in principles and technologies to enhance self- and buddy-aid, also referred to as tactical care; techniques, methods, or materials to improve basic and advanced life support for severely injured persons; monitoring, sustainment, and management of severely injured casualties during episodes of delayed or protracted evacuation; and enhanced capability for triage of large numbers of casualties and staged treatment in the field.

The principal causes of death among Service members who die within the first hour of wounding are hemorrhage and traumatic brain injury (TBI); applications addressing these needs are of particular interest.

The CCCRP is also interested in the development of non-invasive sensors; diagnostic and prognostic algorithms; data gathering or capture modalities; and processors to improve our capability for remote triage, monitoring, and management of casualties; as well as products to maintain casualties during prolonged evacuation.

Military Operational Medicine Research Program

The Military Operational Medicine Research Program (MOMRP) addresses health and fitness both at home and on the battlefield, and is divided into four research focus areas: Injury Prevention and Reduction, Psychological Health and Resilience, Physiological Health, and Environmental Health and Protection.

The MOMRP focus areas of research include the following:

  • Biomarkers of exposure to environmental health hazards
  • Prevention of vision and hearing loss
  • Validation of return to duty standards following injuries
  • Performance standards for individual and crew protection systems
  • Sensors and algorithms for injury prediction
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychological health challenges unique to military families
  • Brain and cognitive fitness
  • Physiological resilience in harsh operational environments

Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program

The Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program (CRMRP) focuses on the innovations required to help our wounded Service Members, both in terms of duty performance and quality of life.

Implementation of these technologies and strategies should improve the rate of RTD of Service members, the time to RTD, clinical outcome measures, and quality of life, as well as reduce the hospital stay lengths, clinical workload (patient encounters, treatments, etc.), and initial and long-term costs associated with restorative and rehabilitative or acute care.

The CRMRP focuses its efforts on the following research areas, with emphasis on development and validation of in vitro and in vivo assessment models for military-relevant conditions in wounded Service members:

  • Neuromusculoskeletal injury rehabilitation
  • Sensory systems (including hearing, balance, tinnitus, and vision)
  • Acute and chronic pain management
  • Regenerative medicine and composite tissue engineering

Medical Simulation and Information Sciences Research Program

The Medical Simulation and Information Sciences Research Program (MSIS) explores the implications of models and technology for medical education and for the provision, management and support of health services in the military.

MSIS is focused on two areas of research:  Improving military medical training through medical modeling, simulation, educational gaming, assessment systems, and objective training metrics; and improving the use and sharing of health-related data for better strategic planning, process development, and software applications.

Research topics of interest for MSIS include:

  • Optimization of critical lifesaving skills and procedures through training and educational simulation systems
  • Improved assessment systems of user’s cognition, psychomotor skills, and affective behavior before, during, and after (retention) training
  • Emphasizing approaches toward “anytime readiness” in a near-future era of reduced deployment.
  • Building psychological resilience into pre-deployment training
  • Leveraging and creating training technology advances for U.S. military medicine
  • Pioneering automated adaptive learning to tailor training to health care providers’ needs
  • Ensuring that advanced medical simulation capabilities are ubiquitous.
  • Researching next-generation mannequin prototyping and virtual reality/immersive reality models
  • Democratizing access to advanced medical simulator technology so that it can be used by large and small innovators alike.
  • Saving money by eliminating wasteful and redundant research and development
  • Enable commanders to more efficiently and effectively manage medical information and medical work flows
  • Creating improved clinical decision support systems

Additional topics are detailed under Solicitation Number: W81XWH-BAA-15-1 and on Submission of a pre-proposal is required. After review, if the USAMRMC is interested in receiving a full proposal, the Principal Investigator (PI) will be invited to submit. The BAA is continuously open through September 30, 2015.

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