Researchers at Northwestern University have synthesized a new form of melanin enriched with selenium. Called selenomelanin, this new material shows extraordinary promise as a shield for human tissue against harmful radiation. The researchers synthesized selenomelanin nanoparticles and used them to treat living cells. For comparison, they also prepared cells treated with synthetic pheomelanin and eumelanin, as well as cells with no protective melanin. After receiving a dose of radiation that would be lethal to a human being, only the cells treated with selenomelanin nanoparticles exhibited a normal cell cycle.
(Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense)