MRICD scientist awarded NIH research grant

Dr. Lucille Lange, a research psychologist, and Michael Stone, a biologist laboratory technician, evaluate stained slides to determine the extent of injury produced by nerve agent-induced seizures.

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense principal investigator Dr. Lucille Lange has received a two-year grant for approximately $329,450 from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health.

Lange and her team will study a model to evaluate the effectiveness of medical countermeasures when treatment is delayed against exposure to chemical warfare nerve agent agents.

“This grant award to Dr. Lange is a credit to her and her team’s success in the development of models to evaluate nerve agent medical countermeasures,” commented Dr. James Dillman, MRICD’s director of research. “Her efforts on this project will be a key component in MRICD efforts to address the need for medical countermeasures to protect civilians.”

After exposure to nerve agent, casualties generally experience seizures that last for an extended period of time. This type of seizure is called status epilepticus and becomes resistant to treatment as the time lengthens between exposure and the administration of the therapeutic anticonvulsant.

Whereas Soldiers in a combat zone would generally be administered the CANA, or Convulsant Antidote for Nerve Agent, through buddy aid or a medic at the onset of severe symptoms of exposure, civilians in a terrorist attack with nerve agents may not be able to receive the medical countermeasure in as timely a manner.

Researchers are therefore interested in identifying other drugs that can be added to the therapeutic regimen when treatment cannot be immediate. Discovering and evaluating such adjuncts require a model that can accurately predict toxicity in humans.