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Feds fund study of drug that may prevent radiation injury
Date:1/27/2008

-- and derivatives of those compounds.

"The same properties that make BHA and BHT good food preservatives, namely their ability to scavenge free radicals, also make them good candidates for mitigating the biological affects that are induced through the initial ionizing radiation event," Tour said.

In preliminary tests at M.D. Anderson in July 2007, mice showed enhanced protection when exposed to lethal doses of ionizing radiation when they were given first-generation NTH drugs prior to exposure.

"Our preliminary results are remarkable, and that's why DARPA awarded us this grant with a very compressed timeline for delivery: nine months, which is almost unheard of for an academic study of this type," Tour said. "They are very interested in finding out whether this will work in a post-exposure delivery, and they don't want to waste any time."

Ionizing radiation is any form of radioactive particle or energy that converts an atom or molecule into an ion by altering the balance between the number of protons and electrons. In living organisms, ionization often results in the creation of free radicals -- highly reactive molecules that can wreak havoc by disrupting healthy physiological processes. These free radicals induce a cascade of deleterious biological events that cause further destruction to the organism in the days and weeks after initial radiation exposure event. NTH is designed to terminate the destructive biological cascade.

Tour said the researchers are also interested in finding out whether the new drugs can prevent the unwanted side effects that cancer patients suffer after undergoing radiation therapy.


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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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