Research highlight

New drug candidates for treating radiation poisoning

Nature Medicine

June 25, 2012

Two new drug candidates for treating radiation poisoning are uncovered in a study published online this week in Nature Medicine.

Hartmut Geiger and colleagues use a genetic screen to identify new regulators of radiation sensitivity in mice and discover that a pathway that controls blood clotting and inflammation unexpectedly provides protection against radiation damage. In this pathway, the protein thrombomodulin helps generate activated protein C, which has both anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory activities. The team found that intravenous infusion of recombinant forms of either thrombomodulin or activated protein C protected mice from death after total body radiation.

Both thrombomodulin and activated protein C have previously been used in humans for other conditions, suggesting they might be repurposed for treating radiation poisoning.

doi: 10.1038/nm.2813

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