Humans have been struggling to safely contain radioactive energy since its discovery. The inability to control this energy has been seen in events such as the drop of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The most recent nuclear radiation exposure issue occurred in Japan at the Fukushima reactor due to the tsunami caused by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake.
According to recent research done by Cellerant Therapeutics, there is a new therapy in development that may be capable of treating people exposed to high levels of radiation even three to five days after exposure. This new drug, CLT-800, could be specifically useful for people exposed to the radiation from Fukushima, as workers have been exposing themselves to the radiation in order to keep the plant from melting down. Without knowing the extent to which they will have been exposed to the radiation, this new drug theoretically could make sure there are minimal to no negative effects.
The drug uses stem-cells the help prevent infections that are prevalent in people who have radiation poisoning. “It deploys precursor cells derived from adult stem cells that can mature into platelets, red blood cells and certain white blood cells.” High levels of radiation exposure kill the white blood cells in bone marrow that protect against infections. This new drug will enhance the production of these destroyed white blood cells and “get a temporary defensive boost from an outside source.”
This new product is innovative as existing drugs that aim to treat radiation poisoning by trying to stop a person’s cells from dying, however CLT-800 actually creates new cells. This drug was originally considered for chemo-therapy patients, however after the trial phases of the drug, clinical studies showed that it could possibly be used for even higher levels of radiation exposure.
The drug could possibly be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in about five years. Though this would probably be too long to help those exposed to the radiation during the Fukushima event, it could possibly help other people if another catastrophe threatens to happen again.
To read the full article, visit: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110323/sc_livescience/newtreatmentmaypreventdeadlyradiationsickness
Written by: Sergey Chikvashvili
Photo courtesy of BBC News