U.S. invests in drug to protect against radiation

From Reuters:

Tiny biotech Cleveland BioLabs Inc (CBLI.O) has won a $45 million contract from the Department of Defense to conduct clinical trials of a drug to prevent cell damage in the event of nuclear attack.

The experimental drug has already been shown to protect mice and monkeys from the damaging effects of radiation.

If it works in people, it would be the first drug of its kind.

In animals, the drug has been shown to protect bone marrow and cells in the gut from being destroyed by radiation.

"There are no drugs which protect humans from radiation," Michael Fonstein, the company's chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview.

The drug works by interfering with a process of programmed cell death called apoptosis -- basically a form of cell suicide. This helps the body rid itself of damaged cells,

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