Message from the Director
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) Research Center of Excellence in Arsenicals is dedicated to identifying improved mechanism-based medical countermeasures against arsenical chemical warfare agents. Arsenicals (organoarsenic compounds) were produced beginning in the first half of the twentieth century as pesticides and later as chemical warfare agents. These agents include lewisite, diphenylchlorarsine, diphenylcynoarsine, and diethylchloroarsine.
The public may be exposed to these agents through an accidental release, in a terrorist attack, or during armed conflicts between nations. Having better medical approaches for treating those with cutaneous exposures to arsenicals will increase the number of lives that are saved, improve the lives of those who survive exposure, and protect responding healthcare workers.
The work of this center is conducted as a collaborative effort of the UAB School of Medicine, the UAB School of Public Health, the Southern Research Institute, and MRIGlobal, bringing the expertise together to fully characterize arsenicals-mediated acute and delayed cutaneous, pulmonary, and renal damage following skin exposure to these chemical vesicants. This work is funded through a research grant from the NIH CounterACT Program, a trans-NIH effort.
In the simplest terms, our research will determine how arsenicals cause skin, lung, and kidney injury. We will use this information to develop antidotes that block these devastating effects. We hope that this research will help us determine exactly how arsenicals cause damage to skin, lung, and kidney tissues as better antidotes cannot be developed until we understand these mechanisms.
Mohammad Athar, PhD
Director, UAB Research Center of Excellence in Arsenicals