Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




MILTECH
Bolstering the Front Line of Biological Warfare Response
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 19, 2013


The U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center provided Phase I performers with unaltered antibodies for modification (shown: MS2 bacteriaphage)

Biological warfare agents pose more than a hypothetical threat to U.S. military servicemembers. Troops operate in hostile areas where they could come under attack from adversaries wielding bio-agents like anthrax and toxins. The first step in reacting to any such attack is knowing that it occurred. Quickly and accurately identifying the presence of airborne antigens can be difficult given their complexity, the presence of numerous similar microorganisms in the environment, and the fact that even minute quantities of a threat agent can cause infection.

The Department of Defense (DoD) employs antibody-based biosensors as its immediate tool for quickly detecting antigens-antibodies bind to antigens-but these sensors have functional limitations that can leave warfighters at risk. The two biggest liabilities involve stability and affinity. Stability refers to a sensor's ability to continue functioning as required over time and despite environmental conditions.

Affinity refers to the tightness of the bond between an antibody and an antigen; the higher the affinity, the more sensitive a biosensor is over a wider range of threats. Existing DoD biosensors, while effective, have restricted shelf lives, are quickly rendered inoperable by high temperatures and offer limited affinity.

DARPA launched the Antibody Technology Program (ATP) in 2009 to address the technological limitations of current antibody-based biosensors. The program set out with two primary goals: achieve revolutionary improvements in the stability of antibodies over time, even in extreme conditions; and control affinity in biosensors to enable detection of numerous antigens by a single unit.

ATP ended in 2012 having achieved both goals and with a plan in place to transition the technologies to DoD's Critical Reagents Program, part of the Joint Program Executive Office - Chemical and Biological Defense (JPE-CBD), for biosensor deployment throughout the military services.

Specifically, DARPA performers demonstrated the ability to increase antibody temperature stability at 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) to 48 hours, up from the current limit of five to ten minutes.

When transitioned to DoD biosensors, these results are projected to eliminate the need for refrigeration while increasing the shelf life by a factor of 36, extending survivability at room temperature (approx. 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit) from one month to approximately three years. DARPA also increased antibody affinity by a factor of 400, thus opening the door to vastly more sensitive, multiplexed biosensors that can test for numerous antigens.

Mildred Donlon, the DARPA program manager for ATP, explained the implications of the breakthroughs: "When you consider the locations of warfighters who have the most potential for biological weapons to be used against them, they are typically environments with extreme temperatures and harsh conditions, and the warfighters themselves are probably operating in small groups.

If it's going to be useful to these teams, DoD equipment needs to be ruggedized to survive conditions and be easy to use by non-experts. The ATP technology hits these goals.

"By removing temperature stability as a limiting factor, troops will now be able to carry sensors with them without worrying about refrigeration and wondering if the sensor will return an accurate reading. According to the Chemical Biological Medical Systems Joint Project Management Office at JPE-CBD, eliminating the need for cold-chain logistics in transport and deployment of sensors is estimated to save DoD in the range of $10 million per year," Donlon said.

"The new stability also means antibodies can be attached to new materials to make potentially more practical sensors to take the place of current beads and strips. Most importantly, by pairing more stable sensors with a huge increase in sensitivity, DARPA is giving troops the confidence to trust the results of what can be literally life-or-death measurements."

ATP achieved these results by altering the amino acid sequences within the antibody molecules. Rather than creating an additive stabilizing material, ATP performers devised methods to make the altered amino acids an integral part of the structure of the antibody molecule.

"Antibody-based biosensors have been in use for roughly 30 years," Donlon said. "DARPA used recent advances in understanding of protein structure and analysis to determine new ways to alter amino acids, integrate them into an antibody structure, and do so at a sustainable scale."

DARPA partnered with the U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) from the beginning of ATP, to first assist with evaluation of performer research proposals, then later in the program to provide ATP performers with unaltered antibodies, conduct testing on the performers' altered antibodies, and validate results. To ensure that the production methods for modifying antibodies are scalable and cost effective, performers had to submit one-gram samples for testing. The positive results mean that existing DoD antibody stockpiles can be altered to incorporate the new properties of stability and high affinity.

Program performers for ATP included: Affomix Corp. (Branford, Conn.), purchased by Illumina, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.); AnaptysBio, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.); the Naval Research Laboratory (Washington, District of Columbia); StableBody Technologies, LLC (Lemont, Ill.); The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas); and the ECBC (Aberdeen, Md.), which participated as the validation laboratory. AxioMx, Inc. (Branford, Conn.) was created to rapidly generate high-quality recombinant antibodies.

[i] Committee on R and D Needs for Improving Civilian Medical Response to Chemical and Biological Terrorism Incidents, Institute of Medicine. "Detection and Measurement of Biological Agents." Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Research and Development to Improve Civilian Medical Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.

.


Related Links
DARPA
The latest in Military Technology for the 21st century at SpaceWar.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





MILTECH
Military experts doubt Sweden's ability to defend itself
Stockholm (AFP) Feb 14, 2013
Military experts said Sweden was probably unable to defend itself on its own in the event of an invasion, in a report published Thursday, saying the armed forces lacked necessary resources. "Can We Defend Ourselves For a Week?" the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences asked in the title of its report. Sweden is not a member of NATO and has a policy of military non-alliance, though it do ... read more


MILTECH
Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

MILTECH
Bleach could hamper Mars life search

At the mouth of the red valley

NASA's MAVEN Mission Completes Assembly

Rover Walkabout Continues at Cape York

MILTECH
NASA Spinoff 2012 Features New Space Tech Bettering Your Life Today

Orion Lands Safely on Two of Three Parachutes in Test

Supersonic skydiver even faster than thought

Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran's first spaceman

MILTECH
Welcome Aboard Shenzhou 10

Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

MILTECH
Low-Gravity Flights Will Aid ISS Fluids and Combustion Experiments

Progress docks with ISS

NASA to Send Inflatable Pod to International Space Station

ISS to get inflatable module

MILTECH
Another Sea Launch Failure

ILS Concludes Yamal 402 Proton Launch Investigation

Ariane 5 delivers record payload off back-to-back launches this week

Eutelsat and Arianespace sign new multi-year multiple launch services agreement

MILTECH
Earth-like planets are right next door

Direct Infrared Image Of An Arm In Disk Demonstrates Transition To Planet Formation

Kepler Data Suggest Earth-size Planets May Be Next Door

Earth-like planets may be closer than thought: study

MILTECH
Researchers strain to improve electrical material and it's worth it

Explosive breakthrough in research on molecular recognition

Indra Develops The First High-Resolution Passive Radar System

ORNL scientists solve mercury mystery




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement