Professor receives grant to help fight effects of some chemical warfare

Dr. Ajay Banga stands next to a computer in his lab; a chalkboard with writing on it is behind him.

Mercer University College of Pharmacy’s Ajay Banga, Ph.D., has received funding from the National Institutes of Health CounterAct Program to develop topical treatments to help combat suffering and death from arsenicals-based chemical warfare agents.

Dr. Banga and his research team will develop topical spray and other formulations of 4-phenylbutyric acid, a compound used for the treatment of urea cycle disorders where ammonia builds up in the blood stream, and N-acetylcysteine, used to counteract acetaminophen overdose. His laboratory will test both compounds individually and in combination on skin from human cadavers. Decontamination studies also will be done in the Mercer lab using a surrogate arsenical agent.

The College’s subgrant, from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, is $400,000 over five years.

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