Radiation Protection Offered By Single Injection Post Exposure

Carla Kantara, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Carla Kantara, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow
Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston


Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kantara: The increasing threats of radiation exposure and nuclear disasters have become a significant concern for the United States and countries worldwide. Such concern has increased national and international recognition for the need to develop novel medicinal countermeasures that can prevent radiation-induced tissue damage and keep thousands of people alive, even if administered a day or more after nuclear exposure. To date, there are only a few mitigating or radioprotective agents that are approved by the FDA, however they are unsuccessful in treating the gastrointestinal toxicity induced by high-dose radiation exposures, and are ineffective as a post-exposure treatment for the thousands of potential exposed individuals.

In our study, we showed that a single injection of TP508, administered 24 hours post-radiation, significantly increased mice survival and effectively protected the gastrointestinal mucosa by delaying crypt dissociation and directly stimulating stem cell regeneration. This suggests that TP508 may be an effective post-exposure medicinal countermeasure for mitigating radiation-induced gastrointestinal damage and mortality following a nuclear incident and may provide exposed victims additional time to be evacuated so that they can receive additional life-saving medical treatment.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kantara: In recent years, several agents have been reported as novel putative radioprotective agents or mitigators, however, these agents are unable to exert protective effects when administered post-radiation exposure, are ineffective in initiating stem cell regeneration and/or require multiple injections for efficacy. However, our studies show that a single injection of TP508, 24hrs post-radiation can protect and activate the body’s own stem cells to stimulate repair and restore function to damaged tissues and organ systems. These findings suggest that using TP508 as a field-delivered preventive therapy could delay mortality, even in individuals exposed to high levels of radiation, giving emergency personnel additional time to transport victims to locations where they can receive blood transfusions and other life-saving therapies.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kantara: The ability for TP508 to activate progenitor stem cells located within tissues to initiate tissue repair and regeneration without having the complication of isolating, or inducing, specific populations of stem cells and injecting them into damaged tissues is a paradigm-changing “Next Generation” approach to regenerative medicine with the potential to save lives and improve life’s quality for millions of people. TP508 is currently being repurposed as an injectable drug to treat clinical indications where tissue regeneration, or activation and mobilization of bone marrow stem cells is required. Our long-term goal is to examine whether TP508 may potentially be used to treat other diseases, specifically neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s which require regeneration of stem cells.


Carla Kantara, Stephanie M Moya, Courtney W Houchen, Shahid Umar, Robert L Ullrich, Pomila Singh, Darrell H Carney. Novel regenerative peptide TP508 mitigates radiation-induced gastrointestinal damage by activating stem cells and preserving crypt integrity. Laboratory Investigation, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/labinvest.2015.103

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Last Updated on August 26, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD