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Drug targets radiation damage

Science in Brief

April 12, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Scientists mimicked one of cancer's sneaky tricks to create a drug that promises to prevent a serious side effect of cancer treatment -- radiation damage -- or offer an antidote during a nuclear emergency.

A dose of the experimental drug protected mice and monkeys from what should have been lethal doses of radiation, researchers reported Friday in the journal Science. A study to see if the compound is safe in people could begin as early as this summer.

The drug activates a protein that prevents cells from self-destructing, as they would normally do when damaged by radiation.

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