Pentagon Asks For Fast Approval
Of New Anti-Radiation Drug

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Defense Department is pressing for the approval of a new drug that could help against radiation amid worries that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network may have radioactive weapons in their possession, The New York Times reported on Friday.
So far the drug, a steroid hormone known as 5-androstenediol that appears to strengthen the immune system, has been tested as a radiation protectant only in mice, the newspaper said in its online edition.
In one test, an injection protected 70 percent of mice from a level of radiation that killed all the mice in the control group, it said.
The drug is receiving increased scrutiny along with other experimental treatments and drugs already on the market as fears of terror attacks grow, the newspaper said. The National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have invited radiation experts to a two-day workshop starting Dec. 17 in Bethesda, Maryland to review approaches for protecting people from radiation, The New York Times said.
Rights to 5-androstenediol are held by San Diego-based Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., the newspaper added.

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