Mass General, Novelos to study radiation-induced lung injury

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Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, in collaboration with biopharmaceutical company Novelos Therapeutics, was awarded a $950,371 competitive grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study two Novelos compounds–NOV-002 and NOV-205–for the mitigation and treatment of radiation-induced pulmonary injury.

The 17-month grant, according to Novelos, will fund the assessment of both drug candidates in animal models designed to reflect pulmonary injury resulting from a radiation-dispersal device or nuclear device or in a radiation accident.

Kathryn D. Held, MD, the principal investigator of the grant, is an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School and radiation biologist and associate radiation biologist, department of radiation oncology at MGH.

“Radiation injury studies have indicated that among organs whose ablation leads to death, the lung is the second most sensitive organ system after the hematopoietic system,” said Held. “We want to determine whether certain compounds have a beneficial effect on radiation-induced lung damage.”

According to the Newton, Mass.-based company, the stated goal of the NIH challenge grant (RC1) program is “to accelerate the development of safe and effective medical products to mitigate or to treat pulmonary injury arising from intentional or accidental exposure to ionizing radiation. Specifically, this new initiative will support research and development of the most promising new approaches and medical products to mitigate or treat radiation-induced pulmonary injury.”