Creation of AFIRM

The Department of Defense wants to rapidly move some of the latest medical technologies from labratories to battlefields. A collaboration between Rice University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is part of that effort. Rod Rice has more.

DOD has created AFIRM, or Armed Force Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

"When we talk about regenerative medicine or bioengineering, what essentially we're trying to do is come up with these technologies that will help the body repair or replace human tissues that have been lost, and in this particular case, due to trauma on the battlefield."

Simon Young is a resident at U-T Houston and a graduate student at Rice in both of the both of the programs involved in the local collabortion on craniofacial reconstruction. He says their particular goal is to eventually be able to help those who've lost soft and hard tissue on their face.

"The technology that we're looking at will not only stabilize their inury and prevent infection, but secondly help to regenerate bone for them later on once they get to a higher echelon facility."

The Rice/U-T Houston effort will get two-million dollars over the next five years to spearhead the development of these new technologies. AFIRM believes it can get new techniques to the frontlines quicker by having reseachers and doctors working together to develope them.

"Clinitions and bioengineers working side by side and giving each other advise on what works and what doesn't work."

This program is part of a larger 250-million dollar effort.

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...