DTRA seeks nanotechnology research

The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department recently announced that it is soliciting research proposals for the development of nanomaterials to fight potential exposure to chemical and biological weapons.

The goal of the research is to develop Nanostructured Active Therapeutic Vehicles capable of delivering therapeutic drugs in the body to protect against chemical and biological agents before the onset of symptoms, according to DVIDSHub.net.

"It's a call to the scientific community," Dr. Viktoria Greanya, DTRA CB's senior manager for Nanomaterials Research, said, DVIDSHub.net reports. "We want our warfighters to have a focused system to combat chemical and biological threats."

The NATV program was inspired by recent advances in cancer research that are using similar technology to target tumor cells and not healthy ones.

Nerve and biological agents can have extremely short treatment windows between exposure and the onset of symptoms, so for the military, an active therapeutic vehicle with prophylactic or pre-symptomatic applications is highly desirable.

Successful NATV research would result in the development of nanomaterials that are designed to circulate in the body and sense exposure to a threat before releasing an effective countermeasure.

Greanya said that nanomaterials are an attractive option because their physiochemical properties can be precisely controlled and they can be designed to target specific cell's or organ tissue.