US government grant funds PXL 'scavenger drugs' to treat radiation damage


Proteome Systems (PXL) and its partners today announced they have been awarded a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant to develop its "scavenger compounds" to treat radiation exposure caused by terrorist attacks or industry accidents.

The US$20 million grant has been awarded to a consortium consisting of Proteome Systems, Medical College of Wisconsin, Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit, and the University of Toronto. The consortium will together develop Proteome's proprietary therapeutic compounds for the treatment of radiation damage.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently launched an initiative to establish "Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation" to develop new medical products to protect against, mitigate the effects of, and treat the short- and long-term consequences of radiation exposure due to terrorist attack.

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in Milwaukee has been selected to host one of the NIAID-funded Centers, whose participants will include 20 scientists from MCW, Proteome Systems, the Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit, and the University of Toronto. The successful funding proposal was organized by Professor John E. Moulder, a radiation biologist whose research has been devoted to developing methods for preventing and treating radiation injuries.

The overall goal of the MCW Center is to develop therapies for treating victims of radiological terrorism or radiation accidents, with particular focus on protecting the lung, kidney, gut, and brain. Proteome Systems' role in this effort will be to provide its novel synthetic catalytic scavengers (SCS) as potential drugs, and to work with the other members of the consortium to develop these compounds for clinical application. Anticipated funding for the MCW Center is approximately $20 million for a period of 5 years.

Proteome Systems' scavenger drugs are small molecule compounds that show potential in a broad spectrum of therapeutic applications in the neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and inflammatory areas. They have, in addition, been shown to prevent various forms of radiation-induced tissue damage, and are therefore considered to be potentially promising agents for treating victims after radiation exposure. Collaboration with investigators in the MCW Center will give Proteome Systems the opportunity to develop the therapeutic value of its small molecule compounds in this important and, unfortunately, ever more urgent clinical application.

This research will enable Proteome Systems to further develop a medical product designed to protect not only victims of exposure to a "dirty bomb" or similar radioactive device, but also first responders who would need to go into attack areas. It is further expected that these compounds would be developed for non-military radiation injury such as the debilitating effects caused by radiation treatment for cancer.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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