faculty member Louis D. Falo Jr., M.D., Ph.D. (pictured top), Professor and Chairman of the Pitt Department of Dermatology, and his team which includes McGowan Institute faculty member Theresa Whiteside, Ph.D. (pictured bottom), Director of the Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, received a $1 million research grant from Project BioShield (funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Department of Health and Human Services) to develop a topical way to administer a radiation mitigator drug quickly and easily to a large patient population. The GS-nitroxide drug JP4-039, identified by the Pitt research team in 2004 as a radioprotector, could counter the effects of radiation exposure in case of large-scale public exposure.
“Our challenge is to develop a next-generation topical delivery strategy that will enable the drug to protect the skin and, at the same time, use the skin as a depot for drug delivery throughout the entire body,” said Dr. Falo. “Our goal is to accomplish this with a cream or patch that is inexpensive to produce and store and simple enough to be self-administered. If we can accomplish this, the technology likely will be applicable to a broad range of drug delivery applications.”
A team of researchers led by Joel Greenberger, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will develop the GS- nitroxide drug JP4-039. Using both mouse model and human cell and tissue research, they have shown that the drug, when delivered 24 hours after irradiation, enhances cell recovery. According to Dr. Greenberger, JP4-039 can be delivered directly to the mitochondria, the energy-producing areas of all cells. When this occurs, the drug assists the mitochondria in combating irradiation-induced cell death.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Media Relations News Release (10/29/08)
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute News Release (10/29/08)
Medical News Today (10/30/08)
Bio: Louis Falo, Jr., MD, PhD
Bio: Theresa Whiteside, PhD