Stories about: radiation sickness

Radiation sickness: A two-drug combination could block radiation’s double hit

A two-drug combination could help raise the odds of surviving toxic doses of radiation released through accidents like those at Chernobyl (above) or Fukushima, or by a nuclear or radiological weapon. (Kamil Porembinski/Flickr)

Radiation can have its benefits – look at radiation therapy for cancer, or imaging technologies like X-rays and CT scans that use radiation to peer within our bodies. But high doses, from malfunctioning medical equipment, accidents like those at Chernobyl or Fukushima, or nuclear or radiological weapons, can be toxic or even lethal.

Right now, there are treatments in development that could raise the odds of surviving exposure to toxic doses of radiation, but only if given within a few minutes or hours of exposure. Ofer Levy of Children’s Division of Infectious Diseases and his collaborator Eva Guinan at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have hit upon a new-two drug combination that markedly increased survival in mice when given as late as 24 hours after exposure.

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