Wine ingredient protects against radiation: report

Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:09pm EDT
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A natural antioxidant commonly found in red wine and fruit may protect against radiation exposure, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Tests in mice showed that resveratrol, when altered using a compound called acetyl, could prevent some of the damage caused by radiation, the researchers told the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in Boston.

Drugs made that way might be used in a large-scale radiological or nuclear emergency, said Dr. Joel Greenberger, a radiation oncologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

"Currently there are no drugs on the market that protect against or counteract radiation exposure," he added. "Our goal is to develop treatments for the general population that are effective and non-toxic," Greenberger said in a statement.

"Small molecules which can be easily stored, transported and administered are optimal for this, and so far acetylated resveratrol fits these requirements well."

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Peter Cooney)