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Radiation Treatment Medications

The Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) is a valuable resource in the use of drug therapies to treat radiation exposure. REAC/TS maintains a repository of clinical information and qualified staff provide expertise to practitioners worldwide on the use of calcium and zinc diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) and Radiogardase (Prussian Blue).

Calcium-DTPA and zinc-DTPA are injectable chelating agents used to enhance the excretion of plutonium and other transuranics from the body.

Radiogardase (Prussian Blue) binds to radiocesium and thallium and enhances their excretion from the body.

Before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, REAC/TS managed the Investigational New Drug (IND) status for DTPA and Prussian Blue. In support of our government’s efforts to better prepare for potential radiological terrorist attacks, REAC/TS completed extensive paperwork to move both drugs to New Drug Application (NDA) status, thus making them more readily available for a public health emergency.

Staff continue to:

  • Manage the DTPA registry, a computerized collection of case histories of DTPA-treated individuals.
  • Evaluate new developments in chelation therapy involving either improved protocols for the existing agents or research on improved chelators.

REAC/TS personnel are also familiar with the use of other treatments such as potassium iodide (KI). If radioactive iodine is released into the air during a radiation event and then inhaled, it is quickly absorbed by the thyroid gland and can cause damage. KI acts to block the radioactive iodine from being taken into the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from injury.