Eliot Rosen from Georgetown University Medical Center and colleagues from China and the United States have discovered the first naturally occurring compound that prevents the effects of radiation poisoning from gamma rays according to their report in the Oct. 14, 2013, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Test rats and mice were treated with DIM within 10 minutes after being exposed to a lethal dose of gamma radiation. Untreated test animals all died but more than 60 percent of the treated animals lived for 30 days or longer after radiation exposure.
The researchers fund that similar protective effects from gamma radiation were accomplished with an injection of DIM at administered 24 hours before or after radiation exposure.
The researchers tested mice that had breast cancer that was treated with radiation therapy. DIM helped prevent damage to cells that were not cancerous and also mitigated some of the nausea and other side effects produced by radiation therapy for breast cancer. DIM has been approved for use in reducing the side effects of radiation therapy.
The researchers see practical applications of DIM as a preventative in nuclear reactor accidents and as a preventative from radiation deaths in nuclear attacks.