LITTLE ROCK – UAMS has been given $8.7 million in contract options to proceed with advanced development of a promising treatment for use in
radiological or nuclear emergency situations.
The options came from Biomedical Advanced Research and
Development Authority (BARDA). The first was worth $7.5 million over two years from the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office. A
second one-year option for $1.24 million is for research to be done as part of
an interagency agreement between BARDA and the U.S. Department of Defense
Including the base BARDA contract for $4.5 million entered
into in 2011, the total value awarded is more than $13 million.
Under the contract, UAMS' Martin Hauer-Jensen, M.D., Ph.D.,
an internationally renowned radiation researcher, will lead the evaluation of
the drug, pasireotide, formerly known as SOM230, to treat gastrointestinal
injuries after radiological or nuclear accidents or terrorist attacks.
Hauer-Jensen will be assisted by an 18-person team of UAMS researchers.
The intestine and bone marrow are most susceptible to
radiation because of their rapidly proliferating cells. Treatments exist for
irradiated bone marrow but not for the intestine.
Radiation damage to the intestine often determines whether a
person lives or dies after exposure, Hauer-Jensen said.
"I am very excited about this award, and I am optimistic
that in a few years we will have a safe, effective treatment with the potential
to saves lives," said Hauer-Jensen, associate dean for research and director of
the Division of Radiation Health in the UAMS College of Pharmacy.
The research contract is the largest in the UAMS College of
Pharmacy's 60-year history, said Stephanie Gardner, Ed.D., Pharm.D., dean of
the College of Pharmacy.
"This award is a great achievement for Dr. Hauer-Jansen and
his team," Gardner said. "It is also a great achievement for our college and
highlights the fact that we not only have a wonderful academic program, but
that we are also excelling in the research arena."
Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:14:58 GMT
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