MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 10, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- An agreement was announced today by Humanetics Corporation, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF). The focus of this agreement is to develop and commercialize nutritional supplements and drugs that show promise in supporting and protecting the immune system against challenges from exposure to radiation resulting from terrorist attack or nuclear incident.
Through a unique Master Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), Humanetics will sponsor a new research program with two branches of USU: the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI), the nation's premier center for radiation injury countermeasure research; and the F. Edward Ebert School of Medicine. Building on DoD expertise, Humanetics and AFRRI are currently targeting several compounds -- some of which have already been shown to be effective in initial trials to increase survival in mice receiving lethal doses of radiation.
"The nutritional supplements we intend to investigate generally have a history of safety, are orally administered, cost effective, easily stored, and readily distributed to large numbers of people," stated Ronald Zenk, President and CEO of Humanetics. "The Master CRADA enables Humanetics to collaborate with DoD scientists to facilitate discovery and development of promising new compounds to protect those who might be exposed to radiation. We look forward to this joint project to research and develop products that provide a level of protection to the military, first responders, and civilians."
U.S. Army Colonel David G. Jarrett, M.D., Director of the AFRRI, stated, "This project will allow expansion of our research. We believe this program will accelerate the development of new ways to address radiation-related terrorism threats, and may provide a safe, cost-effective means of diminishing radiation injury for large numbers of people."
Initial CRADA for military readiness and performance -- In July 2004, Humanetics signed its first CRADA with USU and HJF to develop a nutritional supplement to support immune system function. Under this initial CRADA, Humanetics is collaborating with AFRRI researchers to develop a compound to support immune function and to explore the potential benefits for military personnel. This nutritional supplement may be able to increase the readiness and performance of troops by improving their response to a variety of challenges to their immune system such as chronic stress resulting from psychological and environmental factors, military training, and combat.
Master CRADA expansion of research for radiation exposure -- Early in its collaboration with the AFRRI, Humanetics recognized the potential for nutritional supplements to strengthen immune function that might be challenged by exposure to radiation and ultimately protect the immune system against the harmful effects of such exposure. This led to the design and implementation of a unique joint research program within the AFRRI to screen, test and develop several nutritional supplements that have such potential. Unlike a standard CRADA, the Master CRADA is not limited to one compound and provides the ability to rapidly incorporate new candidate compounds into the joint Humanetics/AFRRI research program.
"Our mouse irradiation paradigm is a rigorous model to mimic radiation exposure resulting from a terrorist attack," stated Dr. Mark Whitnall, the principal investigator on the project at the AFRRI. "Our collaborative effort with Humanetics under the Master CRADA will enable rapid screening of promising nutritional supplements using this model."
Humanetics Corporation is a privately-held company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Humanetics focuses on delivering proprietary, science-based and clinically-tested solutions to consumer health and aging concerns. For more information about Humanetics and its products, visit http://www.humaneticscorp.com.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, was chartered by the U.S. Congress and is a fully-accredited DoD graduate- education university.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., Rockville, MD, was chartered by the U.S. Congress and is a private, not- for-profit organization that supports medical education and research at USU and throughout the military medical community.