Researchers develop method to treat radiation-induced tissue damage
Researchers at UW-Madison have discovered a new method for treating radiation-induced tissue damage using certain white blood cells altered with stem cells.
According to an info sheet from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, existing radiation treatments can reduce damage to the thyroid, which can have its hormone producing capabilities reduced by radiation. They can also bind to radioactive material to keep it from getting absorbed by the body.
But these therapies have some drawbacks, WARF says, such as failing to protect bone marrow or enhance immune recovery.
To improve upon available options, UW-Madison scientists discovered that macrophages -- a certain type of white blood cell -- can regenerate some tissues after being “educated” by stem cells to do so. This strategy minimizes damage due to radiation, and “increases survival in clinically significant ways.”
WARF says those researchers have shown in a preclinical model the new method is better than other cellular therapies, including stem cells alone, for treating radiation damage. It’s described as a “potential breakthrough therapy,” with “major commercial potential due to potential terrorist threats.”
Aside from treating radiation-related injuries, the white blood cell treatment could be useful for patients receiving stem cells transplants for leukemia or other diseases. They often receive “radiation-based conditioning” which occurs before the transplant, which can harm tissues.
The info sheet shows researchers have demonstrated positive results in mouse models for “graft-versus-host disease,” which can occur when transplanted cells attack the body.
Next steps for researchers include continuing to investigate safety and efficacy of the strategy, developing the specialized white blood cells, submitting an “Investigational New Drug” application to the FDA, and designing human clinical trials to take place at UW-Madison.
Peiman Hematti and Christian Capitini are listed as principal inventors for the new treatment.
Hematti is a professor of medicine specializing in hematology, oncology and pediatrics with several recent publications related to medical stem cell applications. Capitini is a pediatrics professor at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research who’s collaborated with the National Cancer Institute and many other research centers.
See more on the treatment: http://www.warf.org/documents/ipstatus/P140399US02.pdf