Drug could turn soldiers into super-survivors
2010 02 01
By Linda Geddes | NewScientist.com
A lucky few seem to be able to laugh in the face of death, surviving massive blood loss and injuries that would kill others. Now a drug has been found that might turn virtually any injured person into a "super-survivor", by preventing certain biological mechanisms from shutting down.
The drug has so far only been tested in animals. If it has a similar effect in humans, it could vastly improve survival from horrific injuries, particularly in soldiers, by allowing them to live long enough to make it to a hospital.
Loss of blood is the main problem with many battlefield injuries, and a blood transfusion the best treatment, although replacing lost fluid with saline can help. But both are difficult to transport in sufficient quantities. "You can't carry a blood bank into the battlefield," says Hasan Alam of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "What we're looking for is a pill or a shot that would keep a person alive for long enough to get to them to a hospital."
"We're looking for a pill that would keep a person alive for long enough to get them to hospital"
When the body loses a lot of blood, it tries to compensate by going into shock. This is a set of emergency measures to raise blood pressure and conserve energy, such as increasing heart rate and shutting down expression of some proteins. However, if the body stays in shock for more than a short time, it can lead to organ failure, and death soon follows.
Recent studies have suggested that around 6 or 7 per cent of genes change their expression in response to shock, via the removal of "epigenetic", chemical additions to the genome called acetylations. As histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors can prevent the removal of such acetylations, Alam wondered if these drugs might improve survival after blood loss.
His team previously showed that valproic acid, an HDAC inhibitor already used to treat epilepsy, increased survival rates in rats that had lost a lot of blood. It seemed to be doing this by preventing acetylation, causing certain "survival pathways" to remain switched on.
Now Alam has repeated the study in pigs. He anaesthetised the animals, drained 60 per cent of their blood, and subjected them to other injuries before giving them a saline transfusion. He then injected some of the pigs with valproic acid, gave others a blood transfusion and left the remainder untreated.
Just 25 per cent of the pigs receiving only saline survived for 4 hours - the typical time it takes to get hospital treatment - while 86 per cent of those injected with valproic acid survived. All those that had a blood transfusion lived (Surgery, DOI: 10.1016/j.surg.2009.04.007).
Alam is currently repeating the trial to make sure valproic acid does not hinder survival in the longer term. If so, he will apply for permission to do human trials by the end of the year.
"It's exciting," says John Holcomb of the Center for Translational Injury Research at the University of Texas in Houston. "They're looking at resuscitation in a different way."
Earlier studies by Alam's team showed that rats that naturally survive traumatic blood loss also experience fewer changes in gene expression than those that die or suffer complications. He thinks the same might be true in humans. "Every person has this capacity to survive a huge insult, but most of the time it's dormant," he says. "That's why the same insult kills some people while others laugh and move on. What we're trying to do is make you super-resistant using the pathways and proteins that already exist."
However, Graham Packham of Southampton General Hospital, UK, who is investigating the use of HDAC inhibitors to treat cancer, says it isn't yet clear how valproic acid, which reacts with a wide range of molecules, is actually prolonging survival. "It's not clear whether this is driven by valproic acid's epigenetic activity," he says.
Article from: NewScientist.com
Lockheed's HULC Super-Soldier Exoskeleton Gets More Juice
'Big Brother' Targets Wounded UK Soldiers for Show
US Military Suicides Outnumber Soldiers Killed By Enemy Fire For 2009 (Video)
Military Soldier Cyborgs - Digital destiny, or Prophetic Holocaust?
US soldier commits suicide in Indiana movie theater during 'Zombieland'
Soldiers Blinded, Hospitalized by Laser 'Friendly Fire'
Pentagon to implant microchips in soldiers' brains
Red Ice Creations Radio - Robert Duncan O'Finioan - Super Soldier
Army Seeks Fountain of Youth in Body's Powerhouses
Stop MK ULTRA and all of its secret sub-projects!
Latest News from our Front Page
Boston Bomber Carjacking Unravels
2014 03 11
An exclusive WhoWhatWhy investigation has found serious factual inconsistencies in accounts provided by the only witness to the alleged confession of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Why does this matter? Because this witness is the sole source for the entire publicly accepted narrative of who was behind the bombing and its aftermath—and why these events occurred.
In case we’ve forgotten how convoluted ...
3 Years On: Events, Questions Mark Fukushima Anniversary
2014 03 11
Three years on and the extent of the environmental, human and economic repercussions of the Fukushima incident continue to reveal themselves. Fukushima “fallout” is both literal in terms of radioactive materials, and figurative on a global scale. The politics and opinions around the nuclear issue are far from settled.
In Japan anti-nuclear sentiment runs high, with protesters recently marking the anniversary ...
Real Ukraine Issue: Rogue Reactors and Putin’s ’No-Bama’ Zone in Crimea
2014 03 11
Another week into the ‘Crimea Crisis’ and the kamakizi war rhetoric is still spewing out of Washington, London and their multinational corporate media arms.
You’d think it was Red Dawn all over again, only it’s not.
It all sound very impressive and pumped up in the news rooms, but is there any real substance in it – other than keeping oil and ...
Spraying Chemtrails to ’Reduce Pollution’
2014 03 11
The noxious smog choking Chinese cities is globally notorious, with photos showing the grey darkness that swallows citizens as they try to go about their lives. The thick clouds sometimes turn day to night, and wreak havoc for those with respiratory ailments. Reports of how toxic and damaging the smog is to humans and the environment completes the nightmare scenario, ...
Missing flight: Why are the phantom phones ringing FOUR DAYS after mystery disappearance? (Perhaps not underwater?)
2014 03 11
Many desperate and devastated families of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight are clinging to hope. For days they have been waiting anxiously for any word from officials about the status or location of the plane and its 239 passengers. Some of the family members have been able to ’connect’ to their missing loved ones via cellphones - the phones ring ...
|More News » |