New Drug Fights Radiation Effects

150_radiation1A new drug being developed for the US military can protect cells against the effects of radiation, according to a study publish today in the journal Science.
Although radiation is an important weapon used by doctors to blast cancers, drugs that limit radiation's devastating effects on healthy cells are needed to reduce the potentially severe side effects.

Radiation induces damage in healthy tissues not by directly killing cells but by prompting them to commit "suicide" through a process called apoptosis.

The new drug, called "Protectan CBLB502, tested in mice and monkeys, protects radiation-blasted tissues by shutting down this cell death programme, which the body normally turns on in cells with damaged DNA to keep them from multiplying, says Dr Lyudmila Burdelya, who worked with Drs Vadim Krivokrysenko and Andrei Gudkov at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and colleagues at the company Cleveland BioLabs, also in Buffalo, New York,

Research shows that tumor cells are not given the same protection by the drug. Link -via Digg

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Apoptosis is the process by which people die when they are being resuscitated after cardiac failure. If this drug could be administered during chest compressions maybe people could be brought back to life after longer periods of time.

See the following link for a description of apoptosis: http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=860#more-860
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... I suck at posting on this site... no "EDIT POST" button.

@Scotch again:
This might give very good information and research fodder to scientists like yours truly (yay), but it would make a lousy cancer treatment drug. The drug appears to be untargetted (if that is a word) so it will also hit the cancer cells. The whole point of chemo-therapy is to convince the cells to kill themselves and/or the body to kill them. Taking this drug during Chemo might just protect the cancerous cells from apoptosis... and in the words of Egon, "That would be bad."

BTW, congratulations on surviving cancer (in a sad/blunt few words). God Bless the rest of your health.
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@Scotchdrinker:
The effect will be temporary. It is not a gene therapy and every drug has a half-life. Also, drug treatments of cells only last until your body filters out the drug. I would think of this drug like an antibiotic; you have to take it every so often during exposure to get the job done. That fits with the nature of this drug and its function at least as I understand it. I cannot imagine even in theory, a drug that could do what this article states without being a temporary fix.

BTW, that's a good thing, as you say. I think there is no question here that if the drug were permanent, that'd be BAD.
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