Targeted Evaluation of Ionizing Radiation Exposure (TEI-REX)

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) which sets forth research areas of interest to the Army Research Laboratory-Army Research Office (ARL-ARO) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is issued under paragraph 6.102(d)(2) of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and 10 USC 2358 which provides for the competitive selection of basic research proposals. Proposals submitted in response to this BAA and selected for award are considered to be the result of full and open competition and in full compliance with the provision of Public Law 98-369, "The Competition in Contracting Act of 1984" and subsequent amendments.

The objective of the Targeted Evaluation of Ionizing Radiation Exposure (TEI-REX) program is to establish novel biodosimetry approaches enabling improved quantification of lower-dose ionizing radiation exposures (<0.75 Gray)1 from samples that can be collected and/or tested minimally or non-invasively (hereafter known as ‘TEI-REX samples’), while also expanding quantitative and qualitative knowledge of the exposure environment. To accomplish this, the TEIREX program will discover, characterize, and model biomarkers associated with a variety of ionizing radiation events, especially lower-dose exposures, from TEI-REX samples. The new capabilities developed under TEI-REX align with United States Government’s mission objectives ranging from investigation of exposure events to ensuring compliance with established dosimetry protocols.

Current biodosimetry approaches, including the gold standard dicentric chromosome assay (DCA), are effective for determining a higher-dose radiation exposure, but suffer from multiple limitations. These constraints include: the need for invasively collected sample(s), such as blood; requiring multiple collections of the sample; a limited period for which a first sample must be collected postexposure for an accurate prediction of dose exposure; a dependence on transient markers to calculate exposure dose, resulting in a limited period the test is effective following an exposure; and wide standard deviations of dose calculations at lower-dose exposures. The TEI-REX program aims to establish and characterize novel biomarkers, which can overcome many of the limitations that current biodosimetry approaches do not address.

Recently published research has demonstrated that biomarkers associated with ionizing radiation exposure can be detected across numerous biological targets including proteins, peptides, metabolites, and lipids2 . While recent research has focused on basic targets in simple models, they showcase the potential for expanding biodosimetry techniques to novel tissue and sample types, while overcoming limitations associated with current biodosimetry techniques. As these earlier efforts focused on high dose exposures and/or high dose rates ex vivo, TEI-REX is advancing this research by focusing on more complex sample targets in more complex (e.g., in vitro and in vivo) environments at lower dose exposures, with the hypothesis that irradiation of proteins and other biological targets will demonstrate a minimal- or no-threshold, non-linear sensitivity response to the exposure. This hypothesis should be considered distinct, but potentially overlapping, from the linear, no-threshold model used by the EPA to assess the clinical risk associated with lower-dose radiation exposure.

Proposals due: 13 December 2021

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The TEI-REX program is anticipated to be a 3.5-year (42 months) effort, comprised of three (3) Phases. All three (3) Phases are being solicited under this BAA. Phase 1 will be 18 months in duration, Phase 2 will be 12 months, and Phase 3 will be 12 months. Each phase will encompass two (2) main technical Focus Areas:

  • Focus Area 1 (FA1): Signatures and detection methodologies for characterizing ionizing radiation exposures, within 25 days of the first exposure event, from TEI-REX samples.
  • Focus Area 2 (FA2): Signatures and detection methodologies for characterizing ionizing radiation exposures, greater than 90 days from the last exposure event, from TEI-REX samples.

Offerors must propose to all three (3) Phases and both Focus Areas of the Program under this BAA. Proposals that submit to only 1 Focus Area or less than 3 Phases per Focus Area will be considered non-compliant.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants under this BAA include Institutions of higher education (foreign and domestic), nonprofit organizations, and for-profit concerns (large and small businesses). Proposals are encouraged from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (as determined by the Secretary of Education to meet requirements of Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. §1061)) and from Minority Institutions defined as institutions “whose enrollment of a single minority or a combination of minorities exceeds 50 percent of the total enrollment.” [20 U.S.C. § 1067k(3) and 10 U.S.C. § 2362]. However, no funds are specifically allocated for HBCU/MI participation.

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical
Medical - Basic Science

External Deadline

December 13, 2021