May 17, 2016
Space institute to fund testing of radiation protectants
New medical technologies can benefit astronauts in space and oncology patients on Earth
(May 17, 2016)—Houston—Two small companies developing products to protect humans from the damaging effects of radiation exposure have been selected to receive grants from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). Entrinsic Health Solutions, Inc. (EHS), located in Norwood, MA, is an innovative health sciences company dedicated to the development and commercialization of amino acid based medical foods to address critical digestive health, nutrition and hydration related health issues. The Company is involved in several on-going clinical trials designed to test the efficacy of their proprietary Amino Acid Coupled Transport (ACT) Technology for oncology and digestive health applications. Humanetics Corporation, headquartered in Edina, MN, is developing BIO 300, a uniquely formulated isoflavone, derived from soy, as a genomic stabilizer of healthy tissues exposed to medical radiation received during cancer therapy or from diagnostic procedures such at computed tomography (CT) scans.
Radiation is the number one health risk facing humans in deep space. Physical or magnetic shielding from space radiation is not currently feasible. In particular it is difficult to protect astronauts from the harmful health effects of high energy galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and unexpected solar particle events (SPEs). Hence, the development and validation of biological countermeasures is an important step in protecting astronauts from the adverse effects of ionizing radiation during long-duration deep space travel. The NSBRI Industry Forum’s SMARTCAP2016 initiative, BioShield 4 Mars, was designed to address this mission critical risk by awarding grants to companies developing a biological countermeasure.
EHS’ proprietary A2CT platform leverages gold-standard science and game-changing amino acid technology to address critical digestive- and hydration-related health issues. A2CT technology uses select amino acids to facilitate active transport of electrolytes throughout the body which delivers rapid hydration, decreased gut permeability and improved nutrient absorption, supporting long-term digestive health. The Company’s first commercial product, enterade®, is a first-in-class amino acid based medical food beverage that hydrates, rebuilds, and protects the gut lining and helps manage certain side effects of radiation as well as chemotherapy. Using a prior SMARTCAP grant, the company demonstrated that enterade® protected mice exposed to low and high doses of proton irradiation, reducing nausea and weight loss, and increasing survival. EHS will use the BioShield 4 Mars grant to fund a Phase II clinical trial in patients undergoing myelo-ablative treatment with melphalan, a radiation mimetic, prior to bone marrow transplant. Stephen J. Gatto, Chairman and CEO of EHS stated “We are honored to again work with the scientists at NSBRI and NASA to ascertain the utility of enterade® as a biological countermeasure that may protect our astronauts while in space and also mitigate the debilitating gastrointestinal side effects of commonly used oncology treatments on Earth.”
Humanetics Corporation will use the BioShield 4 Mars grant from NSBRI to evaluate BIO 300 as a radio-protectant in animals exposed to high energy proton radiation. The company has already evaluated BIO 300 extensively using lower energy conventional radiation. This new study will test the efficacy against exposure(s) that more closely resemble space radiation. “It is important to explore the radio-protectant capabilities of BIO 300 against space-like radiation and Humanetics is benefiting greatly from the experience of NSBRI and NASA in designing studies to evaluate this technology.” said Ronald J. Zenk, MBA, President and CEO.
“Entrinsic Health Solutions and Humanetics Corporation are both advancing new approaches to mitigate the damaging effects of radiation on healthy tissues. These promising products have the potential of alleviating radiation induced symptoms experienced by astronauts as well as by patients on Earth. Our job is to accelerate promising technologies by providing seed funding and direction,” said Dorit Donoviel, Ph.D., NSBRI Deputy Chief Scientist and Industry Forum Lead. “The Space Medical and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) offers grants that help small companies broaden the reach of their products, open new market opportunities, and simultaneously address the significant challenges faced by humans living and working in space.” The program is administered by NSBRI’s Industry Forum and funding requires a 100-percent match from non-federal sources.
A video describing the program along with company interviews can be accessed at BioShield 4 Mars. Additional information regarding SMARTCAP and other grant recipients is located at www.smartcap.org. All grant recipients secured a 100-percent match in funding, which leveraged the federal funding and actively fostered public-private collaborations and partnerships.
NSBRI, a 501(c)(3) organization partnered with NASA, is studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing the technologies and countermeasures needed for human space exploration missions. The Institute's science, technology and career development projects take place at approximately 60 institutions, distributed across the United States. For more information, please visit www.nsbri.org. The Industry Forum engages the private sector to develop medical products for both space and Earth through commercialization activities and seed funding. Find out more at www.NSBRIforum.org and follow the NSBRI Industry Forum on Twitter and Facebook.
Contact: Graham B.I. Scott, Ph.D.
Vice President, Chief Scientist & Institute Associate Director
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)