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U.S. Government Buys Israeli Cure for Lethal Radiation Exposure

The U.S. government has reached a deal with Haifa-based Pluristem Therapeutics to stock the company’s therapy for treating patients who have been exposed to lethal doses of radiation, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, asked Pluristem to join its trials, which are designed to protect people exposed to lethal radiation levels, such as nuclear terror attacks or accidents at power plants.

By definition, lethal radiation is a level that would kill 70% of the exposed population. Pluristem’s clinical trials on large animals have shown a nearly 100% recovery rate—within two days of receiving an injection of the company’s placenta cells, the subject’s blood production returned to normal.

“We saw that injecting the placenta cells enabled nearly 100% of the population to recover, compared to 30% of the [animal] group that did not receive the injections,” Yaky Yanay, president and COO of Pluristem, told the Post.

The U.S. government is currently funding and conducting the clinical trials as Pluristem seeks FDA approval. Approval is expected to be granted next year. Pluristem has agreed to make the therapy available in the United States during the trial period if necessary.

The therapy does not require a DNA match between the cell and the patients, and the cells can be injected directly into the muscle easily. Yanay said. He added that the company is in talks with the Israeli government about the therapy. “As a proud Israeli citizen, I can say that Israel is at the top of our priorities, and we are talking to Israeli authorities,” he said. “We very much want to provide the level of defense that our people deserve.”

Pluristem signed a deal with Japan in December to develop therapies for those still affected by radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Clinical trials for Pluristem’s placenta cell therapy for treating bone marrow failure were approved by the FDA in January.

[Photo: Pluristem Therapeutics / YouTube ]