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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2012 Nov;343(2):497-508. doi: 10.1124/jpet.112.196071. Epub 2012 Jul 26.

Identification of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-6 as candidate biomarkers of CBLB502 efficacy as a medical radiation countermeasure.

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Cleveland BioLabs, Inc., 73 High Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.


Given an ever-increasing risk of nuclear and radiological emergencies, there is a critical need for development of medical radiation countermeasures (MRCs) that are safe, easily administered, and effective in preventing and/or mitigating the potentially lethal tissue damage caused by acute high-dose radiation exposure. Because the efficacy of MRCs for this indication cannot be ethically tested in humans, development of such drugs is guided by the Food and Drug Administration's Animal Efficacy Rule. According to this rule, human efficacious doses can be projected from experimentally established animal efficacious doses based on the equivalence of the drug's effects on efficacy biomarkers in the respective species. Therefore, identification of efficacy biomarkers is critically important for drug development under the Animal Efficacy Rule. CBLB502 is a truncated derivative of the Salmonella flagellin protein that acts by triggering Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) signaling and is currently under development as a MRC. Here, we report identification of two cytokines, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), as candidate biomarkers of CBLB502's radioprotective/mitigative efficacy. Induction of both G-CSF and IL-6 by CBLB502 1) is strictly TLR5-dependent, 2) occurs in a CBLB502 dose-dependent manner within its efficacious dose range in both nonirradiated and irradiated mammals, including nonhuman primates, and 3) is critically important for the ability of CBLB502 to rescue irradiated animals from death. After evaluation of CBLB502 effects on G-CSF and IL-6 levels in humans, these biomarkers will be useful for accurate prediction of human efficacious CBLB502 doses, a key step in the development of this prospective radiation countermeasure.

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