Featured Scholar : Christie Orschell, Ph.D.
Department of Medicine
School of Medicine
Side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy include destruction of bone marrow stem and progenitor cells. These cells help the body fight against life-threatening infection and hemorrhage. Exposure from radiological terrorism or accidents also leads to severe bone marrow damage. There are many FDA-approved medications to help bone marrow recovery after cancer treatment, but currently only two approved medical countermeasures (MCM) for individuals exposed to lethal doses of radiation. These medications, Neupogen and Neulasta, are “repurposed” from the cancer field.
Dr. Christie Orschell’s laboratory developed mouse models of the Hematopoietic-Acute Radiation Syndrome (H-ARS) and the Delayed Effects of Acute Radiation Exposure (DEARE) for efficacy testing of MCM against radiation according to the FDA Animal Rule. Under the Animal Rule, which guides drug development when human efficacy studies are unethical or unfeasible, development of radiation MCMs must first use animal models. Her models contributed to the approval of Neupogen and Neulasta, and have been promoted by the NIH to undergo qualification as a “drug development tool” by the FDA, which would allow the model to be publicly available for use in drug development programs and included in FDA submissions without the need to reconfirm suitability of the model.
Dr. Orschell’s work to develop animal models for radiation drug discovery is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.