Partnership focuses on compounds to protect against radiation exposure


Research aims to protect population from nuclear incident or terrorist attack

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) has entered into an agreement with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and Humanetics Corporation to develop and commercialize nutritional supplements and drugs that show promise in boosting the immune system to protect against challenges from exposure to radiation. The primary aim of the program is to screen, develop and test compounds that could protect from dangerous radiation levels associated with a nuclear incident or terrorist attack. Operating through a unique Master Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), USU is conducting the research program through the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) and the F. Edward Ebert School of Medicine. AFRRI is the nation's premier center for radiation injury countermeasure research.

AFRRI Director Col. David G. Jarrett, M.D. stated, "This project will allow expansion of our research. We believe that this program will accelerate the development of new ways to address radiation-related terrorism threats, and may provide a safe, cost-effective means of diminishing radiation injury for large numbers of people."

In July 2004, HJF, USU and Humanetics entered into their first CRADA to develop a nutritional supplement that will support immune system function. Under this agreement, AFRRI researchers are working with Humanetics to develop a compound to support immune function and to explore the potential benefits of the compound for military personnel. Military service members are often in situations that could present challenges to their immune systems, including chronic stress from psychological and environmental factors, military training and combat.

Recognizing the potential for nutritional supplements to strengthen immune function, AFRRI and Humanetics expanded their efforts by designing and implementing a unique joint research program within AFRRI to screen, develop and test several nutritional supplements that exhibit such potential. The Master CRADA, unlike a standard CRADA, is not limited to one compound, so it provides the flexibility to rapidly incorporate new candidate compounds into the research program.

In addition to roughly 10 million U.S. military service members and first responders, it is estimated that 90 million civilians in the top 10 metropolitan areas are considered potential victims of a terrorist attack. A nutritional supplement that can bolster the immune system against the harmful effects of radiation would be a significant step forward in efforts to protect both military personnel and civilians from terrorist attack.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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