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The carbon-sink anti-radiation pill was proposed in Tim Cain's 1997 computer game Fallout. The third official title in the series will debut later this year.  (Source: Bethesda)
Radiation sickness drug in the form of carbon nanotubes gets DARPA's attention

"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. 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," explains James Tour, Rice University's Chao Professor of Chemistry and director of Rice's Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory.

Tour and his colleagues have been awarded a $540,000 grant by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to do further research on a carbon nanotube (CNT) based drug for the treatment of radiation sickness.

Radiation sickness is so deadly because the ionizing affect of radiation alters the balance between protons and electrons in molecules. The process often creates free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules and in the case of radiation poisoning, cause disruption in living cells. The disruption often triggers a domino effect, propagating widespread damage throughout the organism's physiology.

Unlike Rensselaer Polytechnic's CNT-based cancer, disease and toxin treatment, which creates reactive oxygen to disable target proteins, Tour's group's Nanovector Trojan Horses (NTH) soaks up the harmful free radicals created by radiation poisoning. To make the simple drug, single walled CNTs are coated with two common food preservatives, butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene. Tour explains that the same properties that make the compounds good preservatives, their ability to soak up free radicals, also makes them ideal for the treatment of radiation exposure and sickness.

In the lab, the NTH treatment has been tested on mice and was shown to enhance protection when the mice were exposed to lethal doses of ionizing radiation when given the drug prior to exposure. Though the tests were not done as a treatment for exposure, DARPA took an interest in the technique and awarded the group with the grant, which specifies a very short nine-month study. "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," said Tour.

NTH shows great promise, preliminary testing showing the drug to be more than 5,000 times more effective at mitigating the effects of radiation injury than most available drugs. Tour's group is also looking into the possibility of NTH being useful in preventing the harmful side effects of radiation therapy for cancer patients.


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By JonnyDough on 1/30/2008 4:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
When I said Thank God for journalists, I was being sarcastic. You must have missed that. You guys are quite right to try and correct me about taxation without representation.

However, let's not kid ourselves. They were angered about the rate which they were being taxed, which was more than England was being taxed at the time. You are quite right though that they weren't being represented in the decisions made in England that directly affected them (in fact their diplomats were thrown out of the courts I believe).

Some of the responses to my post were rather rude. Particularly yours Misty. I think that kind of incivility is unnecessary. Whether or not the weather is changing is not a question.

So I pose these questions to you:
Why do you not believe these scientists who study the melting polar caps? Are they not more educated in their field of study than you are?

They say that these caps are melting at a crazy fast rate, and that it's been a VERY long time since some of this melting ice has seen sunlight. Now explain to me how the average temperature can raise 6 degrees in under a century and possibly think it isn't a result of all the deforestation, burning fossil fuels, and polluting the oceans.

Will the earth survive global warming? Undoubtedly. Volcanoes used to rule the surface, and life prospered. The problem here is that since that time, we have become more numerous. I am telling you that YES, I believe we have a greater number of people and a greater ability to impact the earth than ever before.

There have been some great civilizations that have come and gone. I think about Rome and the Mayans, the Chinese Dynasties, and the Nile River Valley. But never before have we known so much about bacteria, viruses, balancing our diets, mass production of food and fuel, etc. than the last century.

We are in the technological age my friend. China is just now taking its turn in the industrial revolution. Technology has made us more abundant, and that's a problem. Maybe you need an industrialized breath mint for your morning breath. It's time to wake up.


"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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