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DARPA-Funded University of Washington Research Team Develops Protein Design Method

HealthThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has funded a University of Washington research team that created a method to design customized proteins that can self-assemble structures inside living cells.

DARPA said Thursday the design method helps the agency’s push to efficiently deliver biomedical treatments such as DNA vaccines and therapeutic interfering particles to cells.

The agency noted the work could also lead up to DARPA’s INTERfering and Co-Evolving Prevention and Therapy program that will work to develop a new generation of genetically programmable protein-based molecular machines.

“Viruses offer researchers many lessons on ways to access the body and use the body’s resources for their own purposes,” said Jim Gimlett, DARPA program manager for University of Washington research and INTERCEPT program.

Gimlett when on to say, “DARPA is studying how to apply those tricks to the challenge of overcoming infectious disease … This construct’s generous capacity, and the accuracy with which it builds itself, bode well for the field of biomolecular engineering.”

DARPA added it works to design customized protein shells that can be programmed for specific payloads that can be replicated within the body to open new processes for personalized medicines and therapies.

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