In a recent study published in Laboratory Investigation, a journal in the Nature Publishing group, a team of researchers from the team led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston reported their novel findings in countering the deadly effects of exposure to radiation. In the study, a sole injection of a regenerative peptide significantly increased the survival in mice when given 24 hours following exposure to nuclear radiation.
Carla Kantara, study lead author and postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry and molecular biology at UTMB, mentioned that a single injection of TP508 given 24 hours following radiation exposure seems to increase survival and delay mortality in mice by counteracting damage to the gastrointestinal system.
The threat of a nuclear incident, with the potential to kill or injure thousands of people, has increased national and international recognition of the need for medicinal countermeasures that can prevent radiation-induced tissue damage and keep people alive, even if administered a day or more after nuclear exposure. Exposure to high doses of total body radiation (≥9 Gy) triggers an acute gastrointestinal radiation toxicity syndrome (GI toxicity) that often results in death, regardless of intervention with advanced therapeutics or bone marrow transplants.
The high mortality associated with GI toxicity is believed to be caused by the radiation-induced damage to the intestinal and colonic mucosa leading to reduced fluid absorption, electrolyte imbalance, barrier function loss, bacterial translocation, systemic bacterial infection, sepsis, and organ failure.
“The lack of available treatments that can effectively protect against radiation-induced damage has prompted a search for countermeasures that can minimize the effects of radiation after exposure, accelerate tissue repair in radiation-exposed individuals and increase the chances for survival following a nuclear event,” said Darrell Carney, UTMB adjunct professor in biochemistry and molecular biology and CEO of Chrysalis BioTherapeutics, Inc. “Because radiation-induced damage to the intestines plays such a key role in how well a person recovers from radiation exposure, it’s crucial to develop novel medications capable of preventing GI damage.”
TP508 (Chrysalin) is an investigational peptide drug that was developed for use in stimulating repair of dermal and musculoskeletal tissues. Evidence from previous studies has shown that the peptide triggers tissue repair by stimulating proper blood flow, reducing inflammation and reducing cell death.
“The current results suggest that the peptide may be an effective emergency nuclear countermeasure that could be delivered within 24 hours after exposure to increase survival and delay mortality, giving victims time to reach facilities for advanced medical treatment,” Kantara said.
The authors further suggest that TP508 may be an effective nuclear countermeasure to be used following an intentional or accidental nuclear incident to increase survival and provide high-exposure individuals additional time to be evacuated where they can receive additional life-saving medical treatment. TP508 can be easily distributed for onsite self-administration.