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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported October 17, 2012

Help for People Exposed to Radiation

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – People are exposed to small amounts of radiation whenever x-rays are done, but being exposed to too much radiation carries serious health risks. For those people exposed to a large amount of radiation, a study has shown that a new drug developed to treat radiation exposure might significantly increase the survival rate of those patients.

Study researcher Charles R. Yates, Pharm.D., Ph.D., along with colleagues from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Baylor College of Medicine, tested the new drug which mimics a naturally occurring molecule found in coffee and blueberries on animal models.

The drug showed to increase the survival rates of the animal models by three fold when given 24 hours after the radiation exposure compared to a placebo. The drug also proved to be effective in treating radiation exposure with skin wounds.

Typically exposure to a large amount of radiation is the result of a radiation emergency, which includes things such as dirty bombs, the fallout from a nuclear bomb, or accidental radiation release from a nuclear reactor.

"Development of drugs for individuals who are exposed to high-dose radiation in a public health emergency has been a priority since the 9/11 terrorist attacks," Dr. Yates was quoted as saying.

Since there is a high risk of vomiting associated with radiation exposure making oral treatments problematic, so the researchers also designed a new method of delivering the drug to the patients; the drug can be applied directly to the skin like an adhesive bandage.

The development of this drug could be crucial if ever faced with a radiation emergency, especially if it were to affect a large mass of people. Fast, effective treatments are what people would want in most emergencies.

(Source: Presented at 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition, October, 2012)


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