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Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Boston study identifies possible therapy for radiation sickness
Date:11/23/2011

proven safety record in humans and can be stored for long periods of time, making them suitable for stockpiling.

The use of rBPI21 was inspired by research in patients whose blood-making tissue undergoes changes similar to those of people exposed to high levels of radiation: cancer patients who undergo bone marrow or stem cell transplants. Such transplants involve high doses of chemotherapy and in some cases radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells but also destroys the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow, followed by an injection of stem cells to rebuild the blood supply.

"We measured BPI levels in patients receiving stem cell transplants and found they were BPI deficient while also having bacterial endotoxin in their bloodstream," says Levy, who first studied BPI as a graduate student at New York University with the protein's discoverers, Peter Elsbach, MD, PhD, and Jerrold Weiss, PhD. "These observations led to the hypothesis that replenishing BPI could decrease the toxicity of radiation," Levy adds.

The current study is the product of five years of work and collaboration between Levy, Guinan and their associates. "My experience in the field of stem cell transplantation, including the use of total-body irradiation, and caring for patients with diseases of the bone marrow has been a perfect complement to Ofer's expertise in neutrophil function and innate immunity [the arm of the immune system that is the first line of defense against infection]," Guinan comments. "This result is a promising new strategy for response to a nuclear event."


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Contact: Teresa Herbert
teresa_herbert@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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