The CounterACT Research Network: basic mechanisms and practical applications

Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2010 Jul;7(4):254-6. doi: 10.1513/pats.201001-003SM.


The National Institutes of Health has developed a comprehensive research program that includes research centers of excellence, individual research projects, small business projects, contracts, and interagency agreements to conduct basic, translational, and clinical research aimed at the discovery and/or identification of better medical countermeasures against chemical threat agents. Chemical threats include chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial and agricultural chemicals, and toxins and other chemicals that could be used intentionally as an act of terror or by large-scale accidents or natural disasters. The overarching goal of this research program is to enhance our medical response capabilities during an emergency. The program is named Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT). It supports translational research, applying ideas, insights, and discoveries generated through basic scientific inquiry to the treatment or prevention of mortality and morbidity caused by chemical threat agents. The categories of research supported under this program include creation and development of screening assays and animal models for therapy development, identification of candidate therapeutics, obtaining preliminary proof-of-principle data on the efficacy of candidate therapeutics, advanced efficacy and preclinical safety studies with appropriate animal models using Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), and clinical studies, including clinical trials with new drugs. Special consideration is given to research relevant to people who are particularly vulnerable, including the young, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Terrorism*
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / toxicity*
  • Chemical Warfare*
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Lung Diseases / therapy*
  • Models, Animal
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Translational Medical Research*
  • United States


  • Chemical Warfare Agents