UK College of Pharmacy to develop treatments for people exposed to dirty bomb

LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 18, 2005) -- Researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy's Center for Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (CPST), in partnership with ChemPharma International, a Richmond-based pharmaceutical company, have received $1.2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop treatments to be used in radiation emergencies such as after exposure to dirty bombs.

"In addition to protecting the citizens of Kentucky and the U.S. from terrorist attacks, this contract is an important step in UK being recognized as ethe place' where new drug molecules for the treatment of nuclear or bioterrorism exposures are developed into pharmaceutical products and undergo clinical testing," said Michael Jay, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and director of the CPST.

In May, the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) solicited proposals to develop alternative formulations or delivery methods that help clear the body of radioactive elements like plutonium to be used in a mass exposure situation. According to the NIAID, the potential for radiation exposures to occur from terrorists acts, radiation accidents or nuclear detonation mandates that the health care system develop and implement preparedness plans that include the stockpiling of radioprotective drugs and therapeutics.

Currently, radioactive materials must be removed from the body by administering intravenous drugs. However, researchers from UK and ChemPharma are proposing to develop an orally administered dosage formulation with the ultimate goal of identifying an effective treatment for inclusion in the Strategic National Stockpile. The funding award is for $1,204,374 during the next 21 months.

The NIAID is facilitating the development of this project because oral formulations -- such as capsules or tablets -- would be easier to distribute and administer during a mass exposure situation.


Contact: Louise DuPont
University of Kentucky

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