SLU Researchers Receive Defense Department Funds

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Saint Louis University researchers are working with the U.S. Defense Department to find a way to combat potential bio-terrorism threats.

Molecular microbiologist Dr. Mark Buller recently received a contract worth up to a million dollars to see if two cancer medications have the potential of protecting U.S. troops from biological agents that could be unleashed during an attack:

“We’re looking at monkey pox virus in mice and other institutions in the consortium are looking at other agents,” Buller said. Those other agents include ebola, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, and rift valley fever virus.

Buller says the goal is to find out if two leukemia drugs – Gleevec and Tasigna – are effective against all bio-terrorism threats. “What they’re trying to do now is find a drug that will be effective against multiple different agents,” Buller said.

Following the 2001 terror attacks and in the height of the anthrax threat, the Defense Department spent two billion dollars to come up with effective counter measures but it has now decided it is too expensive to find a different drug to fight each individual threat.


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