Nanoparticle may give radiation protection

Nov. 9, 2006 at 12:49 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they've determined a microscopic nanoparticle shows promise in helping reduce the side effects of radiation.

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia say the nanoparticle, DF-1, might be part of a "new class of radioprotective agents" that help protect normal tissue from radiation damage just as well as standard drugs.

The scientists have shown DF-1 -- a soccer ball-shaped, hollow, carbon-based structure known as a fullerene -- is as good as two other antioxidant drugs and the FDA-approved drug Amifostine in offering protection from radiation.

Led by Dr. Adam Dicker, professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College, and Dr. Ulrich Rodeck, professor of dermatology, the scientists compared DF-1 to two superoxidase dismutase mimetics, which are antioxidant drugs. They exposed zebrafish embryos to radiation with either DF-1, a superoxide dismutase, or Amifostine.

The researchers found each of the three markedly reduced radiation damage, increased overall survival and was comparable to the protection provided by the Amifostine.

The scientists reported their study this week in Philadelphia during the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

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