Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a new program called Anesthetics for Battlefield Care (ABC) on June 12, with the goal of developing safe and effective anesthetics for use in combat situations.
The program has proposed the development of an anesthetic that can be administered by general forces to victims of traumatic injuries on the battlefield, without the need for specialized training.
“Combat anesthesia has not changed significantly since the US Civil War – it can be painful, traumatic and burdensome for the wounded and their caregivers,” DARPA said in a statement announcing the program.
“On the battlefield, troops have access to pain medication, but unfortunately, there is currently no safe option for general anesthesia or sedation that would allow for life-saving interventions at the point of injury.”
The reason for this is that the administration of any form of anesthesia outside the hospital is not considered safe, as there is no suitable compound or combination of compounds that can be used without risk. DARPA noted that every anesthetic currently in use has at least one characteristic that makes it difficult to administer in combat situations or in the absence of rigorous monitoring of vital signs, physiological maintenance and medical intervention.
The program is a research initiative that seeks to find a drug that will have the properties of being user-friendly, fast-acting and effective without requiring close supervision or specialized medical knowledge in a conventional hospital setting and producing the desired anesthetic properties of causing sedation, loss of sensation, loss of consciousness and reduced movement.
In order to achieve the program’s goals, DARPA will ask artists to identify novel biological mechanisms of action and novel drug compounds and formulations that can selectively target the state of anesthesia without affecting blood pressure, cardiac output, and respiratory drive. .
The program aims to delve into the mechanistic foundations of anaesthesia, spanning from the molecular to the anatomical level, to develop a new drug that specifically targets the mechanisms involved.
“Anesthetics for Battlefield Care de-risks a problem that, while targeted by the US Department of Defense, will disrupt all of medicine. It could benefit first responders from rural emergency services, air medical services, to Level I trauma centers,” noted Michael Feasel, ABC program director. “This program seeks to support life-saving interventions to be used earlier, closer to the point of injury, enabling better outcomes for all patients, whether warfighters or civilians.”
The program consists of two distinct phases. The first phase is dedicated to discovery, in which teams will explore and uncover new targets and mechanisms that play a role in anesthesia and contribute to its outcomes. The goal of this phase is to validate these goals and mechanisms. The second phase of drug development focuses on the chemical process of creating new drugs that work through novel mechanisms as discovered during the discovery phase.
DARPA announced that it will work with independent verification and validation (IV&V) partners and regulatory agencies, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, to ensure the optimal development and effectiveness of drugs produced under its program. Selected performers will work closely with these entities to increase their chances of success.
The IV&V partners are to play a critical role throughout the program, particularly in the evaluation of drug candidates in animal models of trauma until the completion of the program.
Read the original at Defence247.gr