BHA and BHT are well-known food preservatives that are excellent radical scavengers. These compounds, attached to single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), could serve as excellent radical traps. The amino-BHT groups can be associated with SWNTs that have carbolyxic acid groups via acid-base association or via covalent association.

The material can be used as a means of radiation protection or cellular stress mitigation via a sequence of quenching radical species using nano-engineered scaffolds of SWNTs and their derivatives. It works by reducing the number of free radicals within or nearby a cell, tissue, organ, or living organism. This reduces the risk of damage to DNA and other cellular components that can lead to chronic and/or acute pathologies, including (but not limited to) cancer, cardiovascular disease, immuno-suppression, and disorders of the central nervous system. These derivatives can show an unusually high scavenging ability, which could prove efficacious in protecting living systems from radical-induced decay.

This technique could be used to protect healthy cells in a living biological system from the effects of radiation therapy. It could also be used as a prophylactic or antidote for radiation exposure due to accidental, terrorist, or wartime use of radiation-containing weapons; high-altitude or space travel (where radiation exposure is generally higher than desired); or in any scenario where exposure to radiation is expected or anticipated.

This invention’s ultimate use will be dependent on the utility in an overall biological system where many levels of toxicity have to be evaluated. This can only be assessed at a later stage. In vitro toxicity will first be assessed, followed by in vivo non-mammalian screening in zebra fish for toxicity and therapeutic efficacy.

This work was done by Jodie L. Conyers, Jr., Valerie C. Moore, and S. Ward Casscells of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office at (281) 483-3809.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

The University of Texas
The Office of Technology Management
UCT 720,
Houston, TX 77030
Phone No.: (713) 500-3369
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refer to MSC-24565-1, volume and number of this Medical Design Briefs issue, and the page number.