Cancer patients and victims of nuclear disasters get new hope

Washington, February 4 (ANI): Duke Medicine researchers have found that epidermal growth factor speed the recovery of blood-making stem cells after exposure to radiation.

The finding could open new options for treating cancer patients and victims of dirty bombs or nuclear disasters.

The researchers explored what had first appeared to be an anomaly among certain genetically modified mice with an abundance of epidermal growth factor in their bone marrow. The mice were protected from radiation damage, and the researchers questioned how this occurred.

"Epidermal growth factor was not known to stimulate hematopoiesis, which is the formation of blood components derived from hematopoietic stem cells. However, our studies demonstrate that the epidermal growth promotes hematopoietic stem cell growth and regeneration after injury," said senior author John Chute, M.D., a professor of medicine and professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University.

Hematopoietic stem cells, which constantly churn out new blood and immune cells, are highly sensitive to radiation damage. Protecting these cells or improving their regeneration after injury could benefit patients who are undergoing bone marrow transplantation, plus others who suffer radiation injury from accidental environmental exposures such as the Japanese nuclear disaster in 2011.

The Duke researchers launched their investigation using mice specially bred with deletions of two genes that regulate the death of endothelial cells, which line the inner surface of blood vessels and are thought to regulate the fate of hematopoietic stem cells. Blood vessels and the hematopoietic system in these mice were less damaged when exposed to high doses of radiation, improving their survival.

An analysis of secretions from bone marrow endothelial cells of the protected mice showed that epidermal growth factor (EGF) was significantly elevated - up to 18-fold higher than what was found in the serum of control mice. The researchers then tested whether EGF could directly spur the growth of stem cells in irradiated bone marrow cultured in the lab. It did, with significant recovery of stem cells capable of repopulating transplanted mice.

Next, the Duke team tried the approach in mice using three different solutions of cells in animals undergoing bone marrow transplants. One group received regular bone marrow cells; a second group got bone marrow cells from donors that had been irradiated and treated with EGF; a third group got bone marrow cells from irradiated donors treated with saline.

The regular bone marrow cells proliferated well and had the highest rate of engraftment in the recipient mice. But mice that were transplanted with the cells from irradiated/EGF-treated donors had 20-fold higher engraftment rate than the third group.

Additional studies showed that EGF improved survival from a lethal radiation exposure, with 93 percent of mice surviving the radiation dose if they subsequently received treatment with EGF, compared to 53 percent surviving after treatment with a saline solution.

Chute said it appears that EGF works by repressing a protein called PUMA that normally triggers stem cell death following radiation exposure.

"We are just beginning to understand the mechanisms through which EGF promotes stem cell regeneration after radiation injury. This study suggests that EGF might have potential to accelerate the recovery of the blood system in patients treated with chemotherapy or radiation," Chute said.

The finding was reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature Medicine. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »