DARPA: 6 futuristic projects for emergency medical care

Research into technologies that can quickly treat wounded soldiers, such as a tricorder and blood pharming, could one day become breakthroughs in civilian emergency care.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

The military is looking for more ways to treat wounded soldiers quickly and effectively, and these could one day become breakthroughs in civilian emergency care.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced its budget estimates for fiscal year 2012 [pdf], and in it are some groovy projects – including Spock’s tricorder, sort of.

Here are 6 of them, along with their allocation estimates for FY2012.

1. Human Assisted Neural Devices, $14.970 million

To develop devices that restore memory by bridging gaps in injured brains. That way, wounded soldiers can be returned to active duty quickly.

In the process, the project might figure out how short-term memory is encoded and what lies underneath the computation and reorganization of our brain cells.

2. Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics (ADEPT), $15 million

To design portable diagnostic devices that will rapidly diagnose diseases and prevent exposure to those threats.

The devices will be able to measure specific biomarkers from dried samples (such as blood or urine) to diagnose at the point-of-need, in-garrison, or deployed.

3. Dialysis-Like Therapeutics, $5 million

To avoid sepsis (a bacterial infection of the blood) by being able to run 5 liters of blood through an external machine – like a dialysis system – that can literally scrub out harmful bacteria and their toxins.

4. Tactical Biomedical Technologies, $17 million

Among others, to prevent battlefield fatalities due to uncontrolled blood loss – such as hemorrhaging due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – by creating technologies that enable unskilled personnel to locate and stop deep bleeders.

Also, to create a ‘pharmacy on demand,’ such as developing new pain control treatments that can be administered in medically unmonitored sites, like active battlegrounds.

And to be able to restore long segments of bone lost due to blast fragmentation.

5. Blood Pharming, $4.295 million

To quickly produce a large quantity of safe, transfusable blood to satisfy battlefield demand and reduce logistics of sourcing donated blood. The goal is to produce 100 units of O-negative red blood cells per week using renewable stem cells.

Biotech firm Arteriocyte and Johns Hopkins University have developed the NANEX Stem Cell Expansion technology, which allows for quick reproduction of universal donor red blood units from umbilical cord blood – and more research is needed.

6. Virtual Tricorder Program, $9 million

To develop a technology that can analyze data collected on individual patients in order to visualize and assess their health status.

Data will be compared to electronic medical records, and by running simulations, the device could help physicians predict how drugs would affect the patient.

Via healthymagination.

Image by taliesin via morgueFile

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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