Toward a better cyanide antidote for terrorist attacks and other mass casualty events

Jan 30, 2013

In an advance toward closing a major gap in defenses against terrorist attacks and other mass casualty events, scientists are reporting discovery of a promising substance that could be the basis for development of a better antidote for cyanide poisoning. Their report, which describes a potential antidote that could be self-administered, much like the medication delivered by allergy injection pens, appears in ACS' Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Steven E. Patterson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design explain that the only existing antidotes for cyanide—recognized as a high-risk substance for potential use by terrorists—must be administered by intravenous infusion. That procedure requires highly trained paramedical personnel and takes time. Cyanide, however, is a fast-acting poison. In a situation involving , only a limited number of victims could be saved. Patterson's team thus sought an antidote that could be administered by intra-muscular (IM) injection, a simpler procedure that could be administered rapidly to a large number of victims or even be self-administered.

Their report describes discovery of a substance, sulfanegen TEA, "which should be amenable for development as an IM injectable antidote suitable for treatment of cyanide victims in a mass casualty setting. Further development, including efficacy in lethal cyanide animal models, will be reported at a later date."

Explore further: Structure of sodium channels different than previously believed

More information: "Cyanide Antidotes for Mass Casualties: Water-Soluble Salts of the Dithiane (Sulfanegen) from 3- Mercaptopyruvate for Intramuscular Administration", J. Med. Chem., Just Accepted Manuscript, DOI: 10.1021/jm301633x

Abstract
Current cyanide antidotes are all administered by IV infusion, a suboptimal procedure in a mass casualty setting. Therefore, in a cyanide disaster from a chemical accident or an act of terrorism, intramuscular (IM) injectable antidotes would be more appropriate. It has become clear that our lead cyanide antidote, viz., sulfanegen sodium, is insufficiently water-soluble for the IM mode of administration. We now report the discovery of the highly water-soluble sulfanegen triethanolamine salt, with greater than a 4-fold increase in solubility and increase in potency compared to the parent sulfanegen sodium, thus offering a promising lead for development as an IM injectable cyanide antidote.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New antidote for smoke-related cyanide toxicity shows promise

Oct 22, 2012

Smoke inhalation is the major cause of death in fire victims due to cyanide poisoning. However, new research presented at CHEST 2012, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, shows that a new antidote, ...

Rapid response in cases of smoke poisoning

Sep 04, 2012

Smoke poisoning can be caused by a number of things, including cyanides, the salts of hydrocyanic acid. Because the quick diagnosis and treatment of victims with cyanide poisoning is critical and often lifesaving, ...

Plants and caterpillars make the same cyanide

Apr 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- With an amazing example of convergent evolution, Niels Bjerg Jensen of the University of Copenhagen published a report in Nature Communications discussing the bird's-foot trefoil plant and th ...

Recommended for you

Breakthrough points to new drugs from nature

Apr 16, 2014

Researchers at Griffith University's Eskitis Institute have developed a new technique for discovering natural compounds which could form the basis of novel therapeutic drugs.

World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme

Apr 16, 2014

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualising the behaviour of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.