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Archive - Aug 23, 2015

Investigational Peptide Drug Shows Potential in Countering Deadly Effects of Radiation Exposure, When Given Up to 24 Hours After Exposure

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.

Chestnut Leaf Extract Blocks Virulence and Pathogenesis of Staph aureus, Potentially Effective Against MRSA Also; Emory-Led Study Shows

Leaves of the European chestnut tree contain ingredients with the power to disarm dangerous staph bacteria without boosting its drug resistance, scientists have found. The open-access journal PLOS ONE published the study online on August 21, 2015. The article is titled “Castanea sativa (European Chestnut) Leaf Extracts Rich in Ursene and Oleanene Derivatives Block Staphylococcus aureus Virulence and Pathogenesis without Detectable Resistance.” The use of chestnut leaves in traditional folk remedies inspired the research, led by Dr. Cassandra Quave, an ethnobotanist at Emory University. "We've identified a family of compounds from this plant that have an interesting medicinal mechanism," Dr. Quave says. "Rather than killing staph, this botanical extract works by taking away staph's weapons, essentially shutting off the ability of the bacteria to create toxins that cause tissue damage. In other words, it takes the teeth out of the bacteria's bite." The discovery holds potential for new ways to both treat and prevent infections of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), without fueling the growing problem of drug-resistant pathogens. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually cause at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MRSA infections lead to everything from mild skin irritations to fatalities. Evolving strains of this "super bug" bacterium pose threats to both hospital patients with compromised immune systems and young, healthy athletes and others who are in close physical contact. "We've demonstrated in the lab that our extract disarms even the hyper-virulent MRSA strains capable of causing serious infections in healthy athletes," Dr. Quave says.