Pharmaceutical pushing ahead with protective compound for x-ray, CT patients

On the heels of a Consumer Reports investigation that raised new red flags over radiation risks, a specialty pharma company has announced plans to speed up its march to market a radio-protective compound that could be given to patients about to have CT or x-ray exams.

Humanetics Corp. said it developed its proprietary compound, BIO 300, based on a discovery several years ago by the U.S. Department of Defense. DoD found that a soy-based substance called genistein can guard against radiation sickness following a nuclear accident or detonation.

The Minneapolis-based company said in a news release that BIO 300 met expectations in preclinical studies, protecting healthy lung tissue from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation exposure. It added that a full clinical trial, designed to evaluate the compound’s ability to reduce tissue damage from chemotherapy and radiation associated with lung cancer treatment, is planned for the second quarter of 2015.

As for administering BIO 300 to patients before they undergo radiation-based imaging exams, the company stated that no preventive radio-protective compounds are currently available for this purpose.

Humanetics CEO Ronald J. Zenk cited the Consumer Reports investigation in announcing the company’s intentions to accelerate development.

“Even in cases when radiation is deemed medically necessary, such as in cancer treatments, CT scans and x-rays, it poses a significant threat to healthy tissues,” Zenk said in prepared remarks. “We don’t want consumers to have to choose between undergoing an important medical treatment that will expose them to harmful radiation or foregoing that treatment.”

Humanetics Corp. is not to be confused with Michigan-based Humanetics Innovative Solutions, whose main product line is crash-test dummies.