Oral DTPA - Countermeasure to Radiation Exposure | SRI International
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scientist working with a chelating agent

Oral Formulation of DTPA to Counter Radiation Exposure

A new oral version of a known chelating agent can defend against mass radiation exposure in a terrorist attack.

Diethylenetriaminepentaacetate (DTPA), a substance that effectively binds ions of ingested radioactive materials, is a potential medical countermeasure against terrorist attacks. The Department of Defense has established a stockpile of two types of DTPA, pentetate calcium trisodiurn injection (Ca-DTPA) and pentetate zinc trisodium injection (Zn-DTPA). They have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of internal contamination with the radioactive elements plutonium, americium, and curium caused by exposure to a radiological dispersal device or improvised nuclear device.

Currently, these products are available only in intravenous forms; however, an oral or alternative self-administrable form is required for large-scale treatment in response to mass radiation exposure. SRI is supporting the National Institutes of Health in developing oral forms of Ca-DTPA and Zn-DTPA.

SRI has developed a patented formulation of an oral DTPA tablet that has been proven to be effective and has a satisfactory shelf-life for stockpiling. It also has many beneficial features for dealing with a mass exposure situation, including self-administration, patient compliance, stability, low cost, and ease of transport to remote locations.

To move this new oral form toward FDA approval, SRI plans to complete further studies of its declared candidate formulation. The drug may eventually be acquired by the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, for the Strategic National Stockpile—part of a comprehensive government effort to develop and provide new and effective drugs, vaccines, and other medical countermeasures to protect against attacks by biological agents, chemicals, nuclear weapons or other hazardous sources of radiation, and dangerous pathogens.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN272201000029C.