"Ionizing radiation can be extremely damaging to cells, tissues, organs and organ systems," said Joel S. Greenberger, M.D., professor and chairman department of radiation oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "In previous studies, we demonstrated that gene therapy can be both swallowed in pill form and inhaled through a nebulizer prior to radiation exposure to protect healthy tissues from damage. In this study, we found that the same therapy administered intravenously also offers protection during exposure to whole-body irradiation." Dr. Greenberger added that intravenous administration could potentially offer wide-reaching protection to the public in the event of a terrorist attack since experts believe a significant number of the population would die within 30 days of receiving a large dose of radiation to the entire body.
In the study, mice were used to test the protective effects of manganese superoxide dismutase plasmid liposome (MnSOD-PL) gene therapy on the bone marrow during whole-body irradiation. The researchers found that in a control group of mice that received an initial 9 Gy dose of radiation there was 80 percent survival at 30 days compared to 93.3 percent survival during the same length of time for an experimental group of mice that were injected with MnSOD-PL prior to irradiation. As the level of radiation exposure was increased, survival rates in the mice injected with MnSOD-PL prior to exposure increased significantly. For example, at 9.5 Gy, mice in the control group had a survival rate of 53 percent, while mic
Source:University of Pittsburgh Medical Center