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AAPS J. 2013 Oct;15(4):1180-8. doi: 10.1208/s12248-013-9527-x. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Radionuclide decorporation: matching the biokinetics of actinides by transdermal delivery of pro-chelators.

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Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 7362, 120 Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599-7362, USA.


The threat of nuclear terrorism by the deliberate detonation of a nuclear weapon or radiological dispersion device ("dirty bomb") has made emergency response planning a priority. The only FDA-approved treatments for contamination with isotopes of the transuranic elements Am, Pu, and Cm are the Ca and Zn salts of diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA). These injectable products are not well suited for use in a mass contamination scenario as they require skilled professionals for their administration and are rapidly cleared from the circulation. To overcome the mismatch in the pharmacokinetics of the DTPA and the biokinetics of these transuranic elements, which are slowly released from contamination sites, the penta-ethyl ester of DTPA (C2E5) was prepared and formulated in a nonaqueous gel for transdermal administration. When gels comprised of 40% C2E5, 40-45% Miglyol® 840, and 15-20% ethyl cellulose were spiked with [(14)C]-C2E5 and applied to rat skin; over 60% of the applied dose was absorbed within a 24-h period. Radioactivity was observed in urinary and fecal excretions for over 3 days after removal of the gel. Using an (241)Am wound contamination model, transdermal C2E5 gels were able to enhance total body elimination and reduce the liver and skeletal burden of (241)Am in a dose-dependent manner. The efficacy achieved by a single 1,000 mg/kg dose to contaminated rats was statistically comparable to intravenous Ca-DTPA at 14 mg/kg. The effectiveness of this treatment, favorable sustained release profile of pro-chelators, and ease of administration support its use following radiological emergencies and for its inclusion in the Strategic National Stockpile.

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