17 May 2021

Research into a new treatment for patients with acute radiation syndrome

Biologist at IRSN © IRSN
Biologist at IRSN © IRSN

Patients with acute radiation syndrome (in particular, the population affected by a radiological or nuclear emergency, especially as a result of a malicious act) suffer from partial or total destruction of their blood stem cells leading to a drop in immunity and a blood clotting defect, resulting in severe and even fatal infections and internal bleeding. The RESCUE project (generation of hematopoietic stem cells from hiPSCs for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome) aims to propose a treatment strategy based on induced pluripotent stem cells, cells obtained by genetic reprogramming of skin cells to make them capable of multiplying infinitely and differentiating into all the cell types that make up an adult organism, as embryonic stem cells do.

Launched at the end of 2019 for a period of four years, with the support of the French National Research Agency, the RESCUE project brings together five partners: the CNRS, EFS Atlantic Bio GMP, the SME Phenocell, Sorbonne University and IRSN, the latter having all the experimental equipment required to carry out this project.
A first project, called GIPSIS, demonstrated in the laboratory the possibility of generating a hematopoietic graft (Haematopoiesis is the physiological process of blood cell production), functional in the long term, from induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC). On the basis of this proof of concept, RESCUE aims to validate the protocol in a large animal model before moving on to clinical trials.

Ultimately, RESCUE will be a major breakthrough for the clinical treatment of radiation victims and haematological disorders by making available freezable and ready-to-use haematopoietic grafts ready for use in radiological or nuclear emergencies.



Alain Chapel