Sepsis is an overwhelming blood infection, which when coupled with shock (such as that which may be experienced following a combat injury) has a mortality rate near 50 percent.
Current methods to identify and treat sepsis may take 48 hours or longer – resulting in increased recovery time from combat wounds and hundreds of preventable deaths.
In fall 2011, DARPA began research to limit the impact of sepsis on the U.S. warfighter through the Dialysis-Like Therapeutics (DLT) program. The goal of DLT is to demonstrate a portable device capable of sensing and removing various targets in the blood (e.g. bacteria, viruses, toxins, and cytokines) on clinically relevant time scales.
As pathogen load is strongly correlated with patient morbidity and mortality, early detection and rapid reduction is considered fundamental to program success and eventual clinical impact. Research to date has focused on advancing the components needed for such a device.
Today, DARPA announced a solicitation seeking integration of previously awarded DLT projects to develop sensors, complex fluid manipulation architectures, separation technologies and closed-loop control algorithms.