DARPA Project


The United States Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant:  INTERfering and Co-Evolving Prevention and Therapy (INTERCEPT).The Tauber Bioinformatics Research Center is participating in a project entitled: rTIPs: “Trojan-horse” Interference Particles against pathogenic RNA viruses.The PI for this project is Prof. Raul Andino (UCSF).

The collaborative team consists of University of California San Francisco, Stanford University, University of Haifa’s Tauber Bioinformatics Research Center, IBM, Pine Biotech, and Aleph Therapeutics.

The program aims to explore and evaluate the potential for Therapeutic Interfering Particles (TIP) as a therapeutic and preventive approach for the long term control of a broad range of rapidly evolving viruses. The novel path explored in the program is based upon previously reported Defective Interfering Particles (DIPs), virus-derived particles with partially deleted genomes that arise during natural infections. DIPs have been isolated from numerous viral infections and shown to interfere with replication and packaging processes through stoichiometric competition for essential viral components.

The most important project target is the design of therapeutically efficient DIPs. Our planned approach to TIP design optimization will be via associations of TIP candidates with clinical outcomes in animals and virus quasispecies fitness in cell lines. The associations are based on machine learning and other computational analysis of integrated model simulations.

More information on DARPA can be found here.