CINCINNATI - New research in Nature Medicine shows that boosting a protein pathway in the body's blood making system protects mice from otherwise fatal radiation poisoning.
Scientists in the multi-institutional study posted online by the journal on June 24 say their findings open the potential for new treatments against radiation toxicity during cancer treatment or environmental exposures such as in a nuclear explosion or accident.
By identifying a target-specific intervention to protect the hematopoietic system against radiation toxicity, the study addresses a largely unmet challenge, according to the researchers.
"These findings suggest that pharmacologic augmentation of the activity of the Thbd-aPC pathway by recombinant Thbd (thrombomodulin) or aPC (activated protein C) might offer a rational approach to the mitigation of tissue injury and lethality caused by ionizing radiation," the scientists write in their manuscript. "Recombinant human aPC has undergone extensive clinical testing in patients, and recombinant soluble human Thbd is currently being investigated for efficacy in antithrombotic therapy in humans. Our data encourage the further evaluation of these proteins for their radio-mitigating activities."
The study reveals a previously unknown function of the Thbd-aPC pathway in radiation mitigation. The pathway is normally known for its ability to prevent the formation of blood clots and help the body fight infections. The researchers found the pathway helps blood cells in the bone marrow recover from injury caused by radiation exposure. They demonstrated that pharmacologic boosting of this pathway with two drugs tested for the treatment of thrombosis or infection (recombinant Thbd and aPC respectively) can be used in mice to prevent death caused by exposure to lethal doses of radiation.
In all instances of treatment with recombinant soluble Thbd or aPC, the result was accelerated recovery of hema
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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center