Due to the threat of a radiological or nuclear incident that could impact citizens, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tasked the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) with identifying and funding early- to mid-stage medical countermeasure (MCM) development to treat radiation-induced injuries. Given that the body's natural response to radiation exposure includes production of growth factors and cytokines, and that the only drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat acute radiation syndrome are growth factors targeting either the granulocyte (Neupogen® or Neulasta®) or granulocyte and macrophage (Leukine®) hematopoietic cell lineages, there is interest in understanding the role that these factors play in responding to and/or ameliorating radiation damage. Furthermore, in an environment where resources are scarce, such as what might be expected during a radiation public health emergency, availability of growth factor or other treatments may be limited. For these reasons, the NIAID partnered with the Radiation Injury Treatment Network (RITN), whose membership includes medical centers with expertise in the management of bone marrow failure, to explore the use of growth factors and other cytokines as MCMs to mitigate/treat radiation injuries. A workshop was convened that included government, industry and academic subject matter experts, with presentations covering the anticipated concept of operations during a mass casualty incident including triage and treatment, growth factors under development for a radiation indication, and how the practice of medicine can inform other potential approaches, as well as considerations for administration of these products to diverse civilian populations. This report reviews the information presented, and provides an overview of the discussions from a guided breakout session.
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