Exposure to ionizing radiation would be a particular concern in the aftermath of a large-scale release of nuclear material, such as might occur following either a natural disaster or a deliberate attack.
The damage to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake raised concerns regarding U.S. preparedness to treat large-scale human exposure to ionizing radiation. Additionally, the immediate destructive potential of nuclear and radiological weapons, as well as their long-term health and economic impacts, continue to be of concern to DoD.
DARPA seeks to gain a better understanding of the biophysical effects of acute exposure to ionizing radiation in humans and develop mitigating technologies to enable immediate and long-term survival.
A special notice posted to FBO.gov requests information on novel therapies, methods, devices, protocols, compounds and systems related to these goals. This input will help to inform a potential new DARPA program focused on demonstrating novel methods for safeguarding the health of humans exposed to large doses of ionizing radiation over a range of temporal and spatial scales.
“Researchers have had some success in developing treatments to prevent near-term death from acute ionizing radiation sickness, but there’s still a lot to be learned about specifically how the chronic effects of exposure play out within the body,” said Mildred Donlon, a program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office.
“We’re hopeful that with increased understanding the immediate treatments for exposure can be made more effective and that we can develop novel therapies and strategies for enhancing long-term survival. There are many facets to this challenge and DARPA needs input from many fields so that we can find the synergies that may exist at the boundaries between fields. If we’re successful in this research, we might be able to limit at least some of the destructive power of ionizing radiation.”…. http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/DARPA_Seeks_to_Defuse_the_Threat_of_Ionizing_Radiation_999.html