An interdisciplinary research team led by The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston reports a new breakthrough in countering the deadly effects of radiation exposure. A single injection of a regenerative peptide was shown to significantly increase survival in mice when given 24 hours after nuclear radiation exposure. The study was published online on August 17, 2015 in Laboratory Investigation, a journal in the Nature Publishing group. The article is titled “Novel Regenerative Peptide TP508 Mitigates Radiation-Induced Gastrointestinal Damage by Activating Stem Cells and Preserving Crypt Integrity.” UTMB lead author Dr. Carla Kantara, postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry and molecular biology, said that a single injection of the investigative peptide drug TP508 given 24 hours after a potentially-lethal exposure to radiation appears to significantly increase survival and delay mortality in mice by counteracting damage to the gastrointestinal system. The threat of a nuclear incident, with the potential to kill or injure thousands of people, has raised global awareness about the need for medical counter-measures that can prevent radiation-induced bodily damage and keep people alive, even if given a day or more after contact with nuclear radiation. Exposure to high doses of radiation triggers a number of potentially lethal effects. Among the most severe of these effects is the gastrointestinal, or GI, toxicity syndrome that is caused by radiation-induced destruction of the intestinal lining. This type of GI damage decreases the ability of the body to absorb water and causes electrolyte imbalances, bacterial infection, intestinal leakage, sepsis, and death.
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