DARPA grants $5.6 million to Dana-Farber to develop viable countermeasures against unknown pathogen

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have received a $5.6 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Army Research Office to develop transient immunity against known, unknown, naturally occurring, or engineered disease-causing pathogens.

"In the past, medical responses to large-scale disease outbreaks have been very slow," said Marasco. "Often it has taken many months to years to research and create medicines or vaccines, time barriers that often result in loss of life. This program gives us an opportunity to very rapidly provide ways to prevent infection and extend survival until long-term solutions are available."

Marasco will direct an international team of leading scientists and businesses engaged in the study of pathogen detection, screening, and therapeutic formulation and manufacturing. The team will pursue two parallel paths toward the program goals: First, to rapidly select broadly neutralizing phage antibodies for direct use as therapeutics for microbial infection; and Second, to investigate selective anti-idiotypic stimulation of B-cell precursors leading to secretion of antibodies with broad-spectrum, natural, anti-microbial activity.

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

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