National Center for Biodefense Receives Funding for Biomedical Research

Posted: August 20, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

The National Center for Biodefense (NCBD) has been awarded $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Defense for biomedical research focused on developing new methods of prophylaxis and treatment strategies to augment military medical defense against the threat of biological weapons.

Rep. James Moran was instrumental in securing the funding for the NCBD proposal from the Defense Department’s Chemical/Biological Defense Initiatives Fund. Other members of the Northern Virginia congressional delegation, including Rep. Tom Davis and Sens. John Warner and George Allen, also supported approval of the funding.

“Our military men and women deserve the best protection they can get from the ever-growing threat of biological weapons,” Moran says. “Their lives, quite frankly, depend on this very valuable research.”

The center’s research efforts support nonvaccine-based approaches to medical defense of biological warfare threat agents. Ken Alibek, the center’s executive director for education, explains that anthrax and smallpox are high on the threat list because evidence suggests that potential enemies of the United States have weaponized these agents. “It is critical that our military men and women be provided with every available defense against the threat of biological weapons, including protection and treatment options,” he says. “Our research proposes to develop products to either prevent or treat these and other potential biological infections.”

The NCBD proposal identifies tasks to aid in the understanding of disease syndromes caused by inhalation of pathogenic agents, such as developing adjunct therapies for use with antibiotics in the treatment of anthrax, detecting new antiviral and immuno-modulatory agents to treat smallpox and the adverse effects of vaccination, and other unique models for the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by biological agents. In addition, this research seeks to further the development of pre- and post-exposure products to treat infectious diseases. These products also may be applicable to the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, autoimmune and other age-related diseases.

Originally established as the Center for Biodefense by George Mason in December 2001, the center’s name was recently changed to the National Center for Biodefense to more accurately reflect the scope of its research and educational initiatives.

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