Dynamic duo helps to heal irradiated mice via Nature News

An antibiotic and a protein can work together to fight radiation-induced infections better than either can manage alone. Doctors already use antibiotics to treat radiation sickness. But the addition of a protein from the immune system — bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI), which acts against poisons called endotoxins — improves the survival rate of irradiated mice, according to a study published today in Science Translational Medicine1.

The combination of BPI with the antibiotic fluoroquinolone helped mice that were treated up to a day after exposure to radiation. This is important, because most existing treatments for radiation sickness — including those stockpiled by the US government, such as potassium iodide and the protein granulocyte colony-stimulating factor — must be taken before or within hours of exposure, which is not always possible. In the event of a nuclear crisis that exposes hundreds or thousands of people to radiation, the ensuing chaos could delay treatment.

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