Carla Voorhees is a web strategist at the Defense Media Activity.
Today the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced an effort to coordinate research to develop a platform for more effective testing of drugs and vaccines between itself, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Through the Microphysiological Systems program DARPA intends to develop a platform that uses engineered human tissue to mimic human physiological systems – allowing them to model the interactions that candidate drugs and vaccines might have with t he human body. As a result, those drugs and vaccines with toxic or ineffective results can be weeded out quickly, and only those which are safe will move forward.
DARPA described the roles each agency will play: “DARPA researchers will concentrate their efforts on engineering platforms and the biology required for scientific proof of concept. The NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences will focus on developing complementary microphysiological systems to mimic human physiology and pathology by taking advantage of recent advances in the field. Both agencies will work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration throughout the process. FDA will provide scientific input to help ensure that the regulatory challenges of reviewing drug safety and efficacy are considered before and during development.”
For more information about the program at DARPA’s website.