[ RadSafe ] News: Gene Therapy Protects Mice From The Effects Of Whole-body Irradiation

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 9 14:53:25 CDT 2006

I received this though another list server.

Source: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Posted: June 8, 2006

Gene Therapy Protects Mice From The Effects Of
Whole-body Irradiation

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
researchers have successfully protected mice against
the damaging effects that radiation can have on bone
marrow using gene therapy. Based on these results, the
researchers believe this approach may be able to
protect first responders in the event of a
radiological accident or the detonation of a crude
radiological weapon, or "dirty bomb." The findings are
being presented at the American Society of Gene
Therapy annual meeting in Baltimore, May 31 to June 4.

Since the events of Sept.11, there has been growing
concern that terrorists may use a dirty bomb--a
conventional explosive wrapped in radiological
material--or attack a nuclear power facility to
disperse high-dose radiation across a populated area.
Experts believe a significant number of the population
would die within 30 days of exposure to a high dose of
radiation from such an event, which has prompted the
federal government to fund efforts to develop medical
interventions against radiological and nuclear

In this study, Pitt researchers used gene therapy to
deliver the compound manganese superoxide
dismutase-plasmid liposome (MnSOD-PL) to the cells of
female mice. Twenty-four hours later, groups of mice
that received the treatment and control mice that did
not were exposed to varying doses of whole body
radiation. Following irradiation, the mice were
weighed daily and observed for signs of
irradiation-induced damage to their bone marrow.
Control mice irradiated at the higher doses lost
weight and died fairly rapidly due to bone marrow
damage. In contrast, mice treated with the MnSOD-PL
gene therapy showed no changes in body weight, had
little bone-marrow damage, and lived longer compared
to the control irradiated mice.

According to corresponding author Joel S. Greenberger,
M.D., professor and chair of the department of
radiation oncology and co-director of the Lung Cancer
Center at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer
Institute, the results of this study have implications
not only for first responders to a radiological
accident or attack but also to anyone else who might
be exposed.

"This treatment is probably most effective when it is
administered before exposure to radiation, as would be
the case for first responders entering a radioactive
environment. However, we have shown that it does have
post-exposure, or mitigation, properties when we've
administered it as a supplement to bone marrow
transplantation. So, it also may be effective for
treating people who have already been exposed to a
radioactive event," he said.

This work was supported by the National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases as part of its
research program on Medical Countermeasures Against
Radiological and Nuclear Threats. Others involved in
this study include Michael W. Epperly, Ph.D., and
Yunyun Niu, M.D., department of radiation oncology,
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. 


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"You get a lot more authority when the workforce doesn't think it's amateur hour on the top floor."
GEN. MICHAEL V. HAYDEN, President Bush's nominee for C.I.A. director.

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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