Sunday, July 19, 2009

Groundbreaking Drug Protects Against Radiation

Story here.

Funded by the Pentagon, Professor Andrei Gudkov, chief scientific officer at Cleveland BioLabs, developed the preventative drug – it's not a vaccine – based on research he began in 2003 using protein produced in bacteria found in the intestine to protect cells from radiation, reported Israel's YnetNews.

Cells exposed to large doses of radiation die, scientists have found, when the cell's "suicide mechanism" is activated. The new medication based on intestinal bacteria works by suppressing the mechanism that causes cells to die and allows them to recover.


If the drug performs as early tests indicate – and Feinstein and Gudkov both note it is not completely effective – it could save millions of lives in contaminated areas beyond the immediate blast zone of a nuclear weapon and free emergency responders to treat survivors suffering acute injuries. Localized dirty bombs, long-feared by security experts, would not necessarily be accompanied by high numbers of casualties.

The drug is also seen as a way of permitting cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy to receive higher and more effective radiation dosages without sustaining radiation damage.