NEW YORK, April 28 (UPI) — U.S. medical investigators say it may be possible to use melanin-covered nanoparticles to protect bone marrow from the harmful effects of radiation therapy.
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University said they successfully tested the strategy in mouse models and concluded infusing such nanoparticles into human patients might hold promise in the future.
Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors but the amount of radiation must be limited since it also damages normal cells. However, the scientists said melanin — the naturally occurring pigment that gives skin and hair its color — has been shown to protect against radiation.
“A technique for shielding normal cells from radiation damage would allow doctors to administer higher doses of radiation to tumors, making the treatment more effective,” said Associate Professor Ekaterina Dadachova, senior author of the study.
The research, which included Einstein Drs. Arturo Casadevall, Joshua Nosanchuk and Andrew Schweitzer; Dr. Valeria Pazo of the Jacobi Medical Center; and researchers Ekaterina Revskaya, Peter Chu, Matthew Friedman, Sean Cahill and Susana Frases, appears in the early online edition of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics.
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