The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched an initiative that targets safe, battlefield-ready anesthetics.
The Anesthetics for Battlefield Care (ABC) program is a fundamental research effort seeking the production of anesthetics reducing trauma associated with injury while improving combat casualty outcomes. The program’s initial phase focuses on the discovery, with teams exploring new targets and mechanisms involving anesthesia, while the second phase is focused on the chemistry of making new drugs working through new means.
“Anesthetics for Battlefield Care is de-risking a problem that, while targeted to the U.S. Department of Defense, will be disruptive to all of medicine. It could benefit first response from rural emergency services, to air medical services, all the way to level I trauma centers,” ABC Program Manager Michael Feasel said. “This program seeks to support life-saving interventions to be employed earlier, closer to the point of injury, enabling better outcomes for all patients, whether warfighter or civilian.”
According to DARPA, a successful candidate drug would be easy to administer, fast acting, and effective without the need for extensive monitoring and life-support equipment or highly trained medical expertise in a traditional hospital setting.
DARPA and any selected performers will work with independent verification and validation partners, in addition to regulatory agencies that include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to maximize the chances of success and the utility of drugs developed under the program.