NEWS | May 31, 2018

Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio educates civic, business leaders

By Flisa Stevenson Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio Public Affairs

Thirty-four civic and business leaders from the Defense Orientation Conference Association, or DOCA, toured the Naval Medical Research Unit-San Antonio at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston April 27 to see a working Navy medical research lab in action and gain insights to share with fellow civilian leaders in their community.


“This was a great opportunity to educate civilian business and community leaders interested in taking a deeper dive into Navy Medicine and learn about the research conducted at NAMRU-SA,” said Navy Capt. Barry Adams, executive officer. “We use science to develop novel technologies, therapies and treatment modalities to support warfighter readiness and survival.


“I hope everything DOCA leaders learned on the tour heightens their awareness about the value and accomplishments of Navy medical research to save lives on the battlefield, prevent or mitigate injuries to warfighters, and ensure a fit and ready force,” Adams added.


DOCA members toured NAMRU-SA facilities at the Tri-Service Research Laboratory to learn more about research in combat casualty care, including the evaluation of interventions to stem and control hemorrhage and provide resuscitation in warfighters.


“Therapies for controlling bleeding as well as investigations of novel resuscitation adjuncts are at the forefront of our research in combat casualty care,” said Cmdr. Jacob Glaser, Navy trauma surgeon and head of NAMRU-SA’s Expeditionary and Trauma Medicine Department. 


Glaser talked about the cutting-edge investigations underway to evaluate hemorrhage control and the efficacy of multifunctional resuscitative fluids; the assessment of stem cells and the targeted treatment of severe tissue defects; and the development and testing of in-laboratory assays to help understand the molecular aspects of the immune response to shock and long-term effects of shock in warfighters.


“NAMRU-SA is utilizing sophisticated models of trauma and hemorrhage to determine a service member’s immune system’s capacity to respond to injury (immune-typing) before an injury happens,” Glaser said. “This exploration of immune-typing to personalize combat casualty care has the potential to be a profoundly invaluable tool for clinical decision-making.”


DOCA members also received an overview of current projects from senior leadership and a team of NAMRU-SA scientists. Other NAMRU-SA project highlights included promotion of craniomaxillofacial regenerative bone healing; rapid detection of multidrug-resistant microorganisms; laser-therapy for the treatment of bacterial biofilm infections; novel wound healing dressing for craniofacial injuries; evaluation of field tourniquets; development of diagnostic tools to aid first responders/physician to identify and treat directed energy injuries; and even the development of a universal antivenom. 


“It was an impressive and important visit to NAMRU-SA and we are honored to have spent quality time with senior leadership and Navy researchers,” said C. Michael Shyne, DOCA president. “This visit was a vital part of DOCA’s study of battlefield medicine. What we witnessed throughout the week in research and development, training, casualty care, and rehabilitation confirmed the critical role of the missions here to the Navy, the joint force and each and every military member and veteran.”


DOCA members were in San Antonio April 25-27 participating in a DOCA conference and wanted to engage their members in several military medicine tour events that included a focus on Navy medical research and development being conducted at NAMRU-SA. 


They also toured the Navy Medicine Education Training and Logistics Command, Brooke Army Medical Center, and the Army Medical Department Museum at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.


DOCA is a non-profit organization with a nationwide membership of civic and business leaders dedicated to continuing education in national defense matters and is committed to enhancing public understanding of current and emerging defense and national security issues.


The mission of NAMRU-SA is to conduct gap driven combat casualty care, craniofacial, and directed energy research to improve survival, operational readiness, and safety of Department of Defense personnel engaged in routine and expeditionary operations.