JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Therapy of radiation injury.

It is apparent from preclinical and clinical research to date that continued evaluation of new and alternative treatment strategies is required to eliminate the obligate periods of neutropenia and thrombocytopenia after acute high-dose irradiation. Future treatment strategies may involve new combinations of cytokines to affect hematopoietic stem cell proliferation and "engineered" cellular grafts to provide short-term in vivo expansion of neutrophils and platelets in an effort to bridge the cytopenic gap until endogenous or transplanted stem cells regenerate the hematopoietic and immune systems. Cytokine-mobilized peripheral blood and cord blood will provide alternative sources of allogeneic stem and progenitor cells in support of primary engraftment, delayed engraftment or secondary failure of the initial graft, as well as starting populations for various ex vivo expansion protocols. Further insights into the relative quality of stem cell populations and the factors that regulate their survival and self renewal, and the identification and roles of adhesion molecules in stem cell mobilization, engraftment, and interaction with the adult marrow microenvironment will provide the basis for future treatment strategies for the radiation-induced hematopoietic syndrome. As our ability to treat the hematopoietic syndrome improves, damage to other organ systems such as the skin, lung, and/or gastrointestinal tissue will emerge as dose-limiting. At the same time, the characterization of receptors for inflammatory cytokines, cytokine receptor antagonists, and anti-endotoxin antibodies has allowed significant insights into the mechanisms and pathogenesis of sepsis. However, translation of this knowledge into a treatment modality for septic patients is precluded by the lack of any clear-cut beneficial effect from the many clinical trials. The research and clinical results presented in this volume and recent conferences reflect the body of knowledge that will lead to further developments in assessment, prophylaxis, and treatment of radiation injuries in the areas of infectious disease and the hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous syndromes.

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