Stem Cell Therapy for Radiation Sickness
The word “radiation” has been sending chills down the spine of people throughout the world, after the disastrous tsunami and earthquake attacks in Japan, which resulted in the explosion of nuclear reactors at Fukushima nuclear power plant. The radiation has been spreading since then threatening the lives of survivors.
According to Cellerant Therapeutics’ CEO and President, Ram Mandalam, his company has come up with a stem cell based treatment called CLT-008 that can protect the human body when it is most vulnerable to the effects of radiation. The person can survive even after getting this treatment 3-5 days after exposure.
In the recent radiation accident in Japan, it has been seen that the radiation has managed to enter the food chain, which forced the government to supply potassium iodide tablets as a preventive measure against radioactive iodine. This is just one of the several materials released into the environment.
Currently, no treatment exists for acute radiation syndrome or radiation sickness.
CLT-008 could be the first treatment for radiation sickness. In this treatment, precursor cells derived from adult stem cells are programmed to mature into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These cells in turn act as the line of defense which fights off bacterial and fungal infections.
The aspect of fighting against infections is important because most of the radiation sickness victims are killed due to infections.
Higher levels of radiation can destroy the bone marrow in human bodies, which is the originator of white blood cells responsible for immunity. CLT-008 thus acts as the cell provider to boost the immune system temporarily.
The main aim behind the development of CLT-008 was to provide immune system boost to the patients receiving radiation through chemotherapy for cancer. But, very soon the researchers found that the treatment was able to defend higher doses of radiation.
Experiments on animal models showed that the protective sheath was working well even days after first exposure to radiation.