The US Department of Defense has been developing pills that will protect humans from radiation. The pills are named Ex-Rad and were developed by Onconova Therapeutics in conjunction with the DoD.
The scientists published their findings in the journal Radiation Research. Once humans have been exposed to radiation, there hasn’t been much they could do to protect themselves, besides evacuating the area.
Ex-Rad increases the likelihood that the human body will survive radiation exposure. It can be taken orally or intravenously. The drug increases the chances of survival when the body is exposed to a potential lethal dose of radiation. The drug can be taken before or after exposure. Studies in mice have shown that the drug conferred protection from a lethal dose of gamma radiation. Human trials didn’t include radiation, but showed that the drug wasn’t harmful and had no side effects.
Ex-Rad seems to alter the way that cells deal with DNA damage. It suppresses the protein p53 that triggers cell death. This kind of drug has been seen in science fiction video games for at least a decade. In the game Fallout, players use a radiation drug called Rad-X.
Reference: “Radiation protection by a new chemical entity, Ex-Rad: efficacy and mechanisms” by Sanchita P Ghosh, Michael W Perkins, Kevin Hieber, Shilpa Kulkarni, Tzu-Cheg Kao, E Premkumar Reddy, M V Ramana Reddy, Manoj Maniar, Thomas Seed and K Sree Kumar, 1 February 2009, Radiation Research.