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UNC spin-off receives $3 million Small Business Innovation Research Grant
Date:9/29/2011

d be of use in humans who are accidentally or intentionally exposed to lethal doses of radiation," he said.

"This funding will employ four people at G-Zero and several additional contractors in the NC research triangle region to continue to develop these experimental compounds into drugs that can be manufactured in consistent ways on a larger scale, the next step before we can apply to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to test these drugs in humans," he added.

"Dr. Sharpless and his team's groundbreaking studies were funded by a UCRF Innovation Award. The findings are both exciting and definitive, leading to UNC patents and the founding of GZero, a startup company with the goal of moving the concept into the practical arena," said Shelley Earp, MD, UNC Lineberger's director.

"The initial goals of radioprotection will be expanded by the NIH award to the advantage of people everywhere."

While radiation and chemotherapy have therapeutic uses, too much is damaging to cells. The most important acute side effect of chemotherapy or radiation poisoning is damage to the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all the normal blood cells, and therefore a high dose of these agents can lead to low blood counts of red cells, platelets and white blood cells. Humans that receive a lethal dose of radiation as in the setting of an accidental exposure die of bone marrow failure. While there are a few drugs that will decrease toxicity when given before exposure to radiation; currently, no effective therapy exists to mitigate bone marrow toxicity of radiation when given after exposure ("radiomitigants").

Examples of applications for G-Zero's technology include unexpected radiation exposures, such as the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster that resulted from earthquakes affecting Japan. Bone marrow protection is a major issue in medical oncology, with billions of dollars spent annually in the United State alone for growth fac
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Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
edegraff@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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