nprev over at UMSF.com has pointed out a new story on the website MedHeadlines.com on the discovery of an anti-radiation drug. The drug, code-named CBLB502, prevents damage (apoptosis or cellular suicide as the article calls it) from lethal doses of radiation to bone marrow and gastrointestinal cells. This is accomplished by mimicking cancer cells by activating a chemical pathway called NFKB. Rhesus monkeys and mice given this drug an hour before radiation exposure showed no ill-effects.
Such a drug will have numerous applications. The drug will certainly be given to cancer patients receiving radiation treatment. It also has civil defense applications. Exploration of the solar system would also be helped by this drug since the ill-effects from radiation exposure in space would be reduced, perhaps making the exploration of Io more tenable.
Link: New Drug Prevents Radiation Damage [medheadlines.com]