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