Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could A Nanotube-based Drug Prevent Radiation Injury?

Date:
January 29, 2008
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
A new study aims to determine whether a new drug based on carbon nanotubes can help prevent people from dying of acute radiation injury following radiation exposure. The study was commissioned after preliminary tests found the drug was greater than 5,000 times more effective at reducing the effects of acute radiation injury than the most effective drugs currently available.

The Department of Defense has commissioned a nine-month study from Rice University chemists and scientists in the Texas Medical Center to determine whether a new drug based on carbon nanotubes can help prevent people from dying of acute radiation injury following radiation exposure. The new study was commissioned after preliminary tests found the drug was greater than 5,000 times more effective at reducing the effects of acute radiation injury than the most effective drugs currently available.

"More than half of those who suffer acute radiation injury die within 30 days, not from the initial radioactive particles themselves but from the devastation they cause in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body," said James Tour, Rice's Chao Professor of Chemistry, director of Rice's Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL) and principal investigator on the grant. "Ideally, we'd like to develop a drug that can be administered within 12 hours of exposure and prevent deaths from what are currently fatal exposure doses of ionizing radiation."

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Tour and co-principal investigators J. Conyers and Valerie Moore at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT-Houston) and Luka Milas, Kathy Mason and Jeffrey Myers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center a $540,000 grant for a nine-month study of an experimental drug that the investigators have named Nanovector Trojan Horses (NTH).

NTH is made at Rice's Chemistry Department and Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory in the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. The drug is based on single-walled carbon nanotubes, hollow cylinders of pure carbon that are about as wide as a strand of DNA. To form NTH, Rice scientists coat nanotubes with two common food preservatives -- the antioxidant compounds butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) -- 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Could A Nanotube-based Drug Prevent Radiation Injury?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080128084415.htm>.
Rice University. (2008, January 29). Could A Nanotube-based Drug Prevent Radiation Injury?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080128084415.htm
Rice University. "Could A Nanotube-based Drug Prevent Radiation Injury?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080128084415.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins