Posts Tagged ‘Medicine & Medical Procedures’

Longevity Drug May Protect Against Radiation

24 Sep


The longevity drug resveratrol may also protect against radiation damage.

Next we'll find out that it cleans carpets, too.

Resveratrol has shown promise in extending the healthy lifespans of lab animals. It's now in clinical trials for treating diabetes -- and if approved, it could be the first longevity drug.

Now University of Pittsburgh oncologist Joel Greenberger has found that resveratrol protects against radiation damage in mice. If it can do the same in humans, resveratrol could also be the first anti-radiation drug -- and it's non-toxic to boot.

"The research was designed to defend against radiation terrorism. People exposed to radiation from a terrorist attack could take it," said Greenberger. He said that it might also protect against other forms of radiation damage.

Resveratrol targets a gene responsible for regulating mitochondria, the cellular power generators that provide bodies with chemical energy. The process produces so-called free radicals, a type of oxygen molecule that damages DNA.

The same mitochondrial rejuvenation that improves animal health is also responsible for its radiation-protective effects.

Greenberger did make a slight chemical tweak: he acetylated the resveratrol, extending its half-life.

Scientists have yet to discover a drug that protects against radiation.

Greenberger's research was reported at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting on Sep. 23.

Image: HeffTech

Note: Resveratrol is found red wine. As a result, every research advance prompts headline writers to conflate it with wine. The latest research is no exception. However, getting a therapeutic dose from wine would entail drinking 750 bottles daily. There are many reasons to drink heavily in the event of an atomic explosion or nuclear meltdown or terrorist attack, but protecting yourself against radiation isn't one of them.

See Also:

WiSci 2.0: Brandon Keim's Twitter stream and feed; Wired Science on Facebook.

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