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Drug mitigates toxic effects of radiation in mice
Date:6/23/2010

proach could be of use in humans who are accidentally or intentionally exposed to lethal doses of radiation," said Sharpless, who is an associate professor of medicine and genetics at UNC's School of Medicine.

PQ relies on the use of potent and selective inhibitors of cellular enzymes called CDK4 and CDK6. Related drugs have been used extensively in humans with cancer, and CDK4/6 inhibitors are currently being tested in humans. Importantly, these drugs can be given as a pill, are chemically stable and have little toxicity. Therefore, such compounds could be stockpiled for use in the setting of an unexpected radiological disaster. The group showed that structurally different versions CDK4/6 inhibitors provided protection from radiation, whereas other types of kinase inhibitors did not.

Sharpless believe PQ may have a role in treating patients with cancer. Radiation is used in cancer therapy, and therefore PQ might benefit such patients. Also, several commonly used chemotherapy drugs cause bone marrow toxicity by damaging DNA, and therefore PQ might protect from chemotherapy toxicity in addition to radiation toxicity. A concern is that PQ might also protect a patient's tumor from the toxicity of therapeutic DNA damaging agents, but the Sharpless group showed that at least some types of cancer were not protected by inhibitors of CDK4/6. Bone marrow protection is a major issue in medical oncology, with billions of dollars of growth factors used annually in the US alone for this problem. In particular, PQ protects platelets and red cells, which are largely unmet needs in current clinical oncology.


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Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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