DARPA’s In Vivo Nanoplatforms (IVN) program seeks to develop new classes of adaptable nanoparticles for persistent, distributed, unobtrusive physiologic and environmental sensing as well as the treatment of physiologic abnormalities, illness, and infectious disease.The Latin translation of "In Vivo" is "in the living", and here means "in living people". Medical research is often broadly classified as being either in vivo or in vitro - in glass: test tubes, Petri dishes, tissue cultures, anything outside living critters. "Persistent, distributed, unobtrusive" sound (to me) like the idea is to inject these nanoparticles into soldiers' general circulation (blood stream) so that the particles are there when needed. Perhaps more would be injected for a faster treatment of an acute condition? It's possible nobody knows how all this would work, yet.
second page, DARPA says:
While the medical community has been using small-molecule therapeutics to treat diseases for years, traditional drugs are often effective against only one disease, are associated with significant side effects and are very expensive to develop. “Doctors have been waiting for a flexible platform that could help them treat a variety of problematic diseases,” said Timothy Broderick, physician and DARPA program manager. “DARPA seeks to do just that by advancing revolutionary technologies such as nanoparticles coated with small interfering RNA (siRNA). RNA plays an active role in all biological processes, and by targeting RNA in specific cells we may be able to stop the processes that cause diseases of all types—from contagious, difficult-to-treat bacteria such as MRSA to traumatic brain injury.” (emphasis added - SiG - it explains the image)The program is divided into Diagnostic and Theraputic sides.
The IVN Therapeutics (IVN:Tx) program effort seeks unobtrusive nanoplatforms for rapidly treating disease in warfighters. This program aims to develop nanotherapeutics that:In my mind, this is way cool. DARPA specializes in things that are beyond the usual budgets and approval cycles; a bit riskier, but with potentially big payoffs. Anything that can knock down "multi-drug resistant organisms" (MRSA) sounds like a good thing in my book, and it goes without saying that anything that can prevent the horrible damages from traumatic brain injury would benefit the whole world.
Successful nanotherapeutic platforms should enable treatment of military-relevant diseases such as infections caused by multi-drug resistant organisms and conditions due to traumatic brain injury.
- Increase safety and minimize the dose required for clinically relevant efficacy
- Limit off-target effects
- Limit immunogenicity
- Increase effectiveness by targeting delivery to specific tissues and/or uptake by cells of interest
- Increase bioavailability
- Knock down medically relevant molecular target(s)
- Increase resistance to degradation