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Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio hosts international delegation to foster medical research collaborations

By Flisa Stevenson | Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio Public Affairs | April 10, 2017


Representing the Americas, a group of 60 business leaders and policy officials visited Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio, as part of a larger tour of military medical facilities at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston April 3.


The group included foreign ministers, private sector leaders, mayors and senior leaders from major cities, leadership of major universities, presidents of competitiveness councils and other senior leadership.


The delegation is part of the 2017 Americas Competitiveness Exchange, or ACE, on Innovation. ACE is a local economic development program hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the International Trade Administration, Economic Development Administration; U.S. Department of State; the government of Mexico and the Organization of American States, or OAS.


This year, the City of San Antonio, or COSA, is the host site for ACE. Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, COSA Office of Military Affairs director, wanted to showcase the treatment and research strengths of military medicine at JBSA so the visitors become familiar with the global reach of military medicine as a critical industry in the San Antonio region.


"As one of the premier medical laboratories in the Department of Defense, NAMRU-SA has the unique expertise that positions it well on regional, national and international arenas. This type of event enhances partnerships and economic development opportunities.  This visit has the possibility to spark future medical collaboration and research with several visiting countries,” said Dr. Cardin Sylvan, NAMRU-SA chief science director.


NAMRU-SA focuses on the health and readiness of the warfighter. Battlefield injuries often present special challenges to the healing process and to address this concern the laboratory is involved in a variety of interdisciplinary and cooperative collaborations and partnerships with academia, industry and across the services to produce novel and innovative treatments, therapies and technologies to promote healing.

“NAMRU-SA’s inter-service collaborations, partnerships across academia and industry, and fiscal efficiency are the key reasons why sponsors are excited about our capabilities and what we are accomplishing here at JBSA” said Navy Capt. Elizabeth Montcalm-Smith, NAMRU-SA commanding officer.

During the tour, the visitors learned how advanced technology development and research are being conducted in combat casualty care, operational medicine, craniofacial health and restorative medicine by the NAMRU-Sresearch team.

Visitors viewed demonstrations of NAMRU-SA’s work to test and evaluate hemorrhage control devices such as tourniquets, a first line of defense, and learned about hemorrhage control and resuscitation investigations using synthetic cadavers and mannequins.  They also learned about the development of new blood replacement products and a novel prototype ozone sterilizer unit that is portable, energy efficient and easy to use in the field.  They also saw cutting-edge post-injury advances in wound healing bandages and infection control for recovering warfighters.


Navy researchers talked to the visitors about NAMRU-SA’s investigations for a new phage-based universal antidote for the treatment of snakebite venom. This research uses a virus to target the snake venom.


During the tour, the visitors saw how collaborations with Navy medicine research could clearly translate to treatment products equally beneficial in a civilian setting.