Title:
Method of Reducing The Effects of Chemotherapy Using Flagellin Related Polypeptides
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The use of flagellin and flagellin related polypeptides for reducing cancer treatment side effects in mammals is described.



Inventors:
Gudkov, Andrei V. (EAST AURORA, NY, US)
Krivokrysenko, Vadim (Orchard Park, NY, US)
Burdelya, Lyudmila (Lancaster, NY, US)
Application Number:
13/850490
Publication Date:
12/05/2013
Filing Date:
03/26/2013
Assignee:
GUDKOV ANDREI V.
KRIVOKRYSENKO VADIM
BURDELYA LYUDMILA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
514/4.8, 514/13.5, 514/15.4, 514/16.4, 514/17.7, 514/18.3, 514/20.7, 514/1.1
International Classes:
A61K38/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HOFFMAN, SUSAN COE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP (BO) (1111 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, N.W. WASHINGTON DC 20004)
Claims:
1. 1.-7. (canceled)

8. A method of reducing a side effect of cancer treatment in a mammal in need thereof, comprising administering a therapeutically effective amount of a composition comprising flagellin, wherein the cancer therapy comprises radiation therapy and cisplatinum.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the mammal is a human.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the cisplatinum is administered at 50-270 mg/m2/day.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein the side effect is one or more of myelosuppression, renal toxicity, weight loss pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, anemia, malnutrition, hair loss, numbness, changes in tastes, loss of appetite, thinned or brittle hair, mouth sores, memory loss, hemorrhage, cardiotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, ototoxicity, and post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the behavioral change is limited mobility.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the side effect is selected from the group consisting of: myelosuppression, renal toxicity, and weight loss.

14. The method claim 11, wherein the mammal is a human.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the cisplatinum is administered at 50-270 mg/m2/day.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/369,704, filed Feb. 11, 2009, which claims the benefit of U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 61/027,729, filed Feb. 11, 2008, and which also is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/421,918, filed Jun. 2, 2006, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,638,485. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/421,918, filed Jun. 2, 2006, is a Continuation of PCT/US04/40753, filed Dec. 2, 2004, which claims the benefit of U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/526,460, filed Dec. 2, 2003, U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/526,461, filed Dec. 2, 2003, U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/526,666, filed Dec. 2, 2003, and U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/526,496, filed Dec. 2, 2003, the contents of all of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

DESCRIPTION OF THE TEXT FILE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY

The contents of the text file submitted electronically herewith are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety: A computer readable format copy of the Sequence Listing (filename: CLEV00209US_SeqList_ST25.txt, date recorded: May 16, 2013, file size 155 kilobytes).

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the use of flagellin related polypeptides to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, in mammals.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The progression from normal cells to tumor cells involves a loss of negative mechanisms of growth regulation, including resistance to growth inhibitory stimuli and a lack of dependence on growth factors and hormones. Traditional cancer treatments that are based on radiation or cytotoxic drugs rely on the differences in growth control of normal and malignant cells. Traditional cancer treatments subject cells to severe genotoxic stress. Under these conditions, the majority of normal cells become arrested and therefore saved, while tumor cells continue to divide and die.

However, the nature of conventional cancer treatment strategy is such that normal rapidly dividing or apoptosis-prone tissues are at risk. Damage to these normal rapidly dividing cells causes the well-known side effects of cancer treatment (sensitive tissues: hematopoiesis, small intestine, hair follicles). The natural sensitivity of such tissues is complicated by the fact that cancer cells frequently acquire defects in suicidal (apoptotic) machinery and those therapeutic procedures that cause death in normal sensitive tissues may not be that damaging to cancer cells. Conventional attempts to minimize the side effects of cancer therapies are based on (a) making tumor cells more susceptible to treatment, (b) making cancer therapies more specific for tumor cells, or (c) promoting regeneration of normal tissue after treatment (e.g., erythropoietin, GM-CSF, and KGF).

There continues to be a need for therapeutic agents to mitigate the side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer. This invention fulfills these needs and provides other related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Provided herein is a method of reducing a side effect of cancer treatment in a mammal, which may comprise administering to a mammal in need thereof a composition comprising flagellin. The mammal may be a human.

The effect may be selected from the group consisting of: myelosuppression, renal toxicity, weight loss, behavioral changes, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, anemia, malnutrition, hair loss, mouth sores, memory loss, hemorrhage, cardiotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, ototoxicity, and post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment. The behavioral change may be limited mobility. The composition may be administered prior to, concomitantly with, or after the cancer treatment.

The cancer treatment may comprise chemotherapy and may also comprise radiation therapy. The chemotherapy may be selected from the group consisting of: cisplatinum, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, camptothecin, methotrexate, melphalan, taxanes, isosfamide, melphalan, hexamethyl-melamine, thiotepa, dacarbazine, cytarabine, 2-fluorodeoxycytidine, idatrexate, trimetrexate, vinblastine, vincristine, navelbine, estramustine, taxoids, etoposide, teniposide, daunorubicine, bleomycin, mitomycin, L-asparaginase, topotecan, procarbazine, mitoxantrone, carboplatinum, interferon, and interleukin.

Also provided herein is a method of reducing cisplatin-associated toxicity in a mammal, which may comprise administering to a mammal in need thereof a composition comprising flagellin. The cisplatin-associated toxicity may be selected from the group consisting of: myelosuppression, renal toxicity, weight loss, and behavior changes. The mammal may be a human.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 demonstrates that p53 deficiency accelerated development of GI syndrome in mice. Panel A: I.P. injection of PFTa (10 mg/kg) protects C57B1/6J mice (if not indicated otherwise, here and below 6-8 weeks old males were used) from a single 9 Gy dose of gamma radiation and a fractioned cumulative radiation dose 12.5 Gy (5×2.5 Gy). PFTα has no effect on survival of mice treated with single 12.5 and 25 Gy doses of IR: (results of representative experiments are shown; Shepherd 4000 Ci Cesium 137 source at a dose rate of 4 Gy per minute was used). Panel B: Wild-type and p53-null C57B1/6J mice differ in their relative sensitivity to low (10 Gy) and high (15 Gy) doses of gamma radiation: wild-type mice were more sensitive to 10 Gy but more resistant to 15 Gy as compared to p53-null mice. Panel C: Mice treated with 11 Gy of total body gamma irradiation were injected 12 h later with 1.5×107 bone marrow cells from wild type or p53-null syngeneic C57B1/6J mice. (This dose causes 100% lethality in nonreconstituted controls group of mice). Two months later, after complete recovery of hematopoiesis, animals were treated with 15 Gy of total body gamma radiation and showed no difference in death rates between the two groups differing in the p53 status of their bone marrow. Panel D: Comparison of dynamics of injury to small intestines of wild-type and p53-null mice at the indicated time points after 15 Gy of gamma radiation indicates accelerated damage in p53-null mice (haematoxylin-eosin stained paraffin sections; magnification ×125). 24 h panels include images of TUNEL staining if sections of crypts: massive apoptosis is evident in wild type but not in p53-deficient epithelium.

FIG. 2 demonstrates the dynamics of cell proliferation and survival in small intestine of wild type and p53-null mice. Panel A: Comparison of proliferation rates in intestines of wild-type and p53 null mice after treatment with IR. (Left) Autoradiographs of whole-body sections (1.7× magnification) of 4-week-old wild-type and p53 null mice injected intraperitoneally with 14C-thymidine (10 μCi per animal) treated or untreated with 15 Gy of gamma radiation. Arrows point at intestines. (Right) Comparison of BrdU incorporation in small intestine of wild-type and p53-null mice at different time points after 15 Gy of gamma radiation. BrdU (50 mg/kg) was injected 2 h before sacrificing mice followed by immunostaining Fragments of 96 h panels are shown at higher magnification (×400). Panel B: Comparison of the number of BrdU positive cells/crypt in small intestine of wild-type and p53-null mice at different time points after 15 Gy of gamma radiation. Three animals were analyzed for each time point, five ileum cross sections were prepared from each animal and analyzed microscopically to estimate the number of crypts and villi. Numbers of BrdU-positive cells in the crypts were counted in 5 random fields under 200× magnification (100-30 crypts) and the average number of BrdU-positive cells was plotted. Panel C: Tracing the number and position of BrdU-labeled cells in small intestine of wild type and p53-null mice during different time points after 15 Gy of gamma radiation. BrdU was injected 30 min. before irradiation and mice were sacrificed at the indicated time points. Accelerated migration from crypts to villi followed by rapid elimination of labeled cells was observed in p53-null mice.

FIG. 3 demonstrates that recombinant flagellin is capable of NF-κB activation.

FIG. 4 shows a representative experiment testing the ability of flagellin to protect mice from radiation. C56BL6 mice (6 week old males, 10 animals per group) were injected i.v. with 2.0 μg (0.1 mg/kg) or 5 μg (0.25 mg/kg) of flagellin in PBS. Four hours later, mice were irradiated with 15 Gy and mouse survival was monitored daily.

FIG. 5 shows histological sections (HE stained) of small intestinal epithelium of mice that were treated with 15 Gy of gamma radiation with or without i.v. injection of 0.25 mg/kg of flagellin. Complete destruction of crypts and villi in control mouse contrasts with close to normal morphology of tissue from flagellin-treated animal.

FIG. 6 shows the effect of flagellin on mouse sensitivity to 10 Gy of total body gamma radiation.

FIG. 7 shows the effect of flagellin injected i.v. at indicated times before irradiation on mouse sensitivity to 13 Gy (left) and 10 Gy (right) of total body gamma radiation.

FIG. 8 shows the effect of flagellin on mouse sensitivity to 10, 13 and 15 Gy of total body gamma radiation.

FIG. 9 shows the domain structure of bacterial flagellin. The Ca backbone trace, hydrophobic core distribution and structural information of F41. Four distinct hydrophobic cores that define domains D1, D2a, D2b and D3. All the hydrophobic side-chain atoms are displayed with the Ca backbone. Side-chain atoms are color coded: Ala, yellow; Leu, Ile or Val, orange; Phe and Tyr, purple (carbon atoms) and red (oxygen atoms). c, Position and region of various structural features in the amino-acid sequence of flagellin. Shown are, from top to bottom: the F41 fragment in blue; three b-folium folds in brown; the secondary structure distribution with a—helix in yellow, b—structure in green, and b—turn in purple; tic mark at every 50th residue in blue; domains D0, D1, D2 and D3; the axial subunit contact region within the proto-element in cyan; the well-conserved amino-acid sequence in red and variable region in violet; point mutations in F41 that produce the elements of different supercoils. Letters at the bottom indicate the morphology of mutant elements: L (D107E, R124A, R124S, G426A), L-type straight; R (A449V), R-type straight; C (D313Y, A414V, A427V, N433D), curly33.

FIG. 10 shows a schematic of Salmonella flagellin domains, its fragments, and its interaction with TLR5. Dark bars denote regions of the flagellin gene used to construct fragments comprising A, B, C, A′ and B′.

FIG. 11 shows soluble flagellin (FliC), and two fragments (AA′ and BB′) after fractionation by SDS-PAGE, with molecular weight markers listed to the left.

FIG. 12 shows induction of NF-κB nuclear translocation by Salmonella flagellin (FliC) and flagellin fragments.

FIG. 13 shows activation of NF-κB-regulated luciferase reporter construct by flagellin and flagellin fragments in H116 cells. Concentrations of proteins are given in μg/ml.

FIG. 14 shows NF-κB DNA binding in HT29 human colon cancer cells induced by flagellin and flagellin fragments.

FIG. 15 shows the activation of a NF-κB reporter in HCT116 reporter cells by full-length flagellin and flagellin fragments.

FIG. 16 shows a comparison of the radioprotective properties of flagellin (FliC) and fragments AA′ and BB′.

FIG. 17 shows that the AA′ fragment protects intestinal epithelium from degeneration caused by radiation. A: Histological sections (hematoxylin and eosin-stained) of small intestinal epithelium of mice 5 days after 14 Gy irradiation are shown. B: Treatment with the AA′ fragment prevents apoptosis ongoing 5 hours after irradiation in endothelial cells of villi (detected by immunostaining for endothelial marker CD31 and marked by arrows), as determined by TUNEL assay. C: Histological sections of skin of mice 5 days after 14 Gy of gamma irradiation demonstrate the protective effect of the AA′ fragment for sebaceous glands (red arrows).

FIG. 18 shows that the AA′ fragment provides partial protection and delays death of mice after supralethal irradiation with 17 and 20 Gy total-body gamma radiation.

FIG. 19 shows anti-flagellin antibody titers induced in mice after 21 and 28 days by flagellin and AA′. For individual mice, the averages of two measurements are shown. Mice were injected with: Fl: flagellin; or AA′. 21d and 28ds—mice injected with first dose 21 and 28 days before second, respectively. PBS: saline buffer (no serum) control; blank: empty well reading control.

FIG. 20 shows anti-flagellin antibody titers induced in mice after 21 and 28 days by flagellin and AA′. For individual mice, the averages of two measurements are shown. Mice were injected with: Fl: flagellin; or AA′. 21d and 28ds—mice injected with first dose 21 and 28 days before second, respectively. PBS: saline buffer (no serum) control; blank: empty well reading control.

FIG. 21 shows that flagellin fragment AA′ protects mice from multiple successive doses of gamma-irradiation. Arrows denote radiation treatments (days 1-4).

FIG. 22 shows the effect of AA′ on tumor sensitivity to radiation treatment. Left Panel: NIH3T3-derived sarcoma cells were injected s.c. in NIH-Swiss mice. When tumors reached 7-10 mm in diameter, mice received three 4.3 Gy doses of total body irradiation, with or without pretreatment with AA′. The dynamics of tumor growth after radiation treatment is displayed. U/t: untreated; AA′: AA′ with no irradiation; 3×4 Gy: irradiation only; 3×4 Gy+AA′:AA′ and irradiation. (The shape of curves reflects slow growth of tumors that is a characteristic of this model). Results are displayed as relative tumor volumes normalized to tumor volume measured at day 7 after last irradiation. Right Panel: The experiment was done in the same way with another syngeneic mouse tumor model: B16 melanoma (C57BL6 background). Treatment was applied when tumors reached 4-5 mm in diameter and involved three subsequent 4 Gy doses of total body gamma radiation applied with or without pretreatment with AA′ (30 min. before irradiation, 5 μg/mouse).

FIG. 23 shows the influence of NS398 on the radioprotection of LPS and AA′ in mice after 13 Gy of total-body gamma irradiation.

FIG. 24 shows a comparison of amino acid sequences of the conserved amino (FIG. 24A, SEQ ID NOS.:1 and 57-76) and carboxy (FIG. 24B, select amino acid residues of SEQ ID NOS.:1 and 57-76) terminus from 21 species of bacteria. The 13 conserved amino acids important for TLR5 activity are shown with shading. The amino acid sequences are identified by their accession numbers from TrEMBL (first letter=Q) or Swiss-Prot (first letter=P).

FIGS. 25A-D show results of a BLAST search using SEQ ID NO: 1 as the query sequence. The parameters used in all searches was as follows: expected value cutoff=10, matrix=BLOSUM62, gap penalties of existence=11 and extension=1, filtering=none. FIG. 25A: NR_Bacteria (Protein-Protein); FIG. 25B: NR_Bacteria (Protein-DNA); FIG. 25C: Bacterial Genomes (Protein-Protein); FIG. 25D: Bacterial Genomes (Protein-DNA).

FIG. 26 shows the percentage identities of the amino- and carboxy-terminus of the homologs shown in FIG. 24 compared to SEQ ID NO: 1, as shown in BLAST results from http://www.expasy.org/ using the same search parameters as listed for FIGS. 25A-D.

FIG. 27 demonstrates that AA′ mediates rescue of multiple mouse strains after 10 Gy total-body γ-IR. Cone heights represent fractions of survivors.

FIG. 28 demonstrates the pharmacokinetics of AA′ after intravenous (i.v.), subcutaneous (s.c.), intraperitoneal (i.p.) or intramuscular (i.m.) injection.

FIG. 29 demonstrates the extended pharmacokinetics of AA′ after intramuscular (i.m.) injection.

FIG. 30 demonstrates the influence of AA′ on gamma-irradiation induced cell death and growth inhibition in A549 cells.

FIG. 31 demonstrates the influence of AA′ on gamma-irradiation induced cell death and growth inhibition in multiple cell lines.

FIG. 32 demonstrates the influence of irradiation and AA′ on BrdU incorporation in small intestinal crypts of NIH-Swiss mice. A comparison of BrdU incorporation in small intestine of control and AA′ treated NIH-Swiss mice, with and without 15 Gy of gamma radiation is shown. BrdU (50 mg/kg) was injected 1.5 h before sacrificing mice and immunostaining was done as previously described (Watson A J & Pritchard D M., Am JPhysiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000 January; 278(1):G1-5). Red channel of the image is shown (positive signal is bright white on the dark background).

FIG. 33 demonstrates the duration of AA′-mediated growth arrest and reduced BrdU incorporation in small intestine of mice. BrdU (50 mg/kg) was injected in Balb/c mice i.p., 1 or 4 hrs after CBLB502 (AA′) injection. Samples of small intestine were obtained 1.5 hrs after BrdU injection. Immunostaining was done as previously described (Watson A J & Pritchard D M., Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000 January; 278(1):G1-5). Inverted image is shown (positive signal is dark on the light background).

FIG. 34 demonstrates the influence of AA′ on BrdU incorporation in colonic crypts of NIH-Swiss mice. BrdU (50 mg/kg) was injected in NIH-Swiss mice i.p., 1 hr after CBLB502 (AA′) injection, Samples of colon were obtained 1.5 hrs after BrdU injection. Immunostaining was done as previously described (Watson A J & Pritchard D M., Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000 January; 278(1):G1-5). Inverted image is shown (positive signal is dark on the light background). Bottom panel shows smaller magnification/larger area of the sample.

FIG. 35 demonstrates the morphology of small intestine in TLR5 deficient MOLF/Ei and TLR5 wt NIH-Swiss mice after treatment with AA′.

FIG. 36 depicts flagellin derivatives. The domain structure and approximate boundaries (amino acid coordinates) of selected flagellin derivatives (listed on the right). FliC flagellin of Salmonella dublin is encoded within 505 amino acids (aa).

FIG. 37 shows the testing of additional flagellin derivatives tested for NF-κB stimulating activity.

FIG. 38 shows the nucleotide and amino acid sequence for the following flagellin variants: AA′ (SEQ ID NO: 7-8), AB′ (SEQ ID NO: 9-10), BA′ (SEQ ID NO: 11-12), BB′ (SEQ ID NO: 13-14), CA′ (SEQ ID NO: 15-16), CB′ (SEQ ID NO: 17-18), A (SEQ ID NO: 19-20), B (SEQ ID NO: 21-22), C (SEQ ID NO: 23-24), GST-A′ (SEQ ID NO: 25-26), GST-B′ (SEQ ID NO: 27-28), AA′n1-170 (SEQ ID NO: 29-30), AA′n1-163 (SEQ ID NO: 33-34), AA′n54-170 (SEQ ID NO: 31-32), AA′n54-163 (SEQ ID NO: 335-36), AB′n1-170 (SEQ ID NO: 37-38), AB′n1-163 (SEQ ID NO: 39-40), AA′n1-129 (SEQ ID NO: 41-42), AA′n54-129 (SEQ ID NO: 43-44), AB′n1-129 (SEQ ID NO: 45-46), AB′n54-129 (SEQ ID NO: 47-48), AA′n1-100 (SEQ ID NO: 49-50), AB′n1-100 (SEQ ID NO: 51-52), AA′n1-70 (SEQ ID NO: 53-54) and AB′n1-70 (SEQ ID NO: 55-56). The pRSETb leader sequence is shown in Italic (leader includes Met, which is also amino acid 1 of FliC). The N terminal constant domain is underlined. The amino acid linker sequence is in Bold. The C terminal constant domain is underlined. GST, if present, is highlighted.

FIG. 39 shows the effects of CLBL502 on toxicity of cisplatinum in mice. Panels A and C show the weights of mice that received 2× maximum tolerable dose (MTD) cisplatinum at either 20 mg/kg (A) or 10 mg/kg (B) and were pretreated with either CBLB502 or PBS. Panel C shows the percentage of animals that died after receiving 20 mg/kg of cisplatinum, with or without CBLB502. Panel D depicts behavioral changes in mice that received cisplatinum with PBS compared to animals that received a similar dose of cisplatinum preceded with a single injection of CBLBL502.

FIG. 40 shows the weight loss effects in NIH Swiss mice of cisplatinum injected alone at a dose of 10 mg/kg compared with the same dose of cisplatinum when 0.04 mg/kg of CBLB502 is injected 30 min prior to the cisplatinum. Asterisks indicate that the difference between groups at a particular time point is statistically significant at P<0.05.

FIG. 41 shows the dynamic of survival of NIH-Swiss mice treated with cisplatin alone (10 mg/kg, i.p.) and with the same dose of cisplatin combined with a single s.c. injection of CBLB502 (0.04 mg/kg) done 30 min prior to cisplatin. The gray arrow marks time interval when the difference between control and experimental groups was statistically significant (P<0.05).

FIG. 42 shows the dynamic of weight loss of FVB mice treated with cisplatin alone (10 mg/kg, i.p.) compared with mice treated with the same dose of cisplatin combined with a single s.c. injection of CBLB502 (0.04 mg/kg) done 30 min prior to cisplatin.

FIG. 43 shows the results of detection of urea in blood sera of mice treated with cisplatin (i.p., 20 mg/kg) alone compared with mice treated with CBLB502 (s.c., 0.04 mg/kg) injected 30 min prior to cisplatinum.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This invention is related to protecting normal cells and tissues from apoptosis caused by stresses including, but not limited to, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and radiation. There are two major mechanisms controlling apoptosis in the cell: the p53 pathway (pro-apoptotic) and the NF-κB pathway (anti-apoptotic). Both pathways are frequently deregulated in tumors: p53 is usually lost, while NF-κB becomes constitutively active. Hence, inhibition of p53 and activation of NF-κB in normal cells may protect them from death caused by stresses, such as cancer treatment, but would not make tumor cells more resistant to treatment because they have these control mechanisms deregulated. This contradicts the conventional view on p53 and NF-κB, which are considered as targets for activation and repression, respectively.

This invention relates to inducing NF-κB activity to protect normal cells from apoptosis by using flagellin. Flagellin may protect normal cells in a mammal from apoptosis attributable to conditions such as, but not limited to (1) cellular stress, which results from cancer treatments and hyperthermia; (2) exposure to harmful doses of radiation, for example, workers in nuclear power plants, the defense industry radiopharmaceutical production, or the military; and (3) cell aging. Since NF-κB is constitutively active in many tumor cells, flagellin may also protect normal cells from apoptosis without providing a beneficial effect to tumor cells. Once the normal cells are repaired, NF-κB activity may be restored to normal levels. Flagellin may be used to protect such radiation- and chemotherapy-sensitive tissues as the hematopoietic system (including immune system), the epithelium of the gut, and hair follicles.

Flagellin may also be used for several other applications. Pathological consequences and death caused by exposure of mammals to a variety of severe conditions including, but not limited to, radiation, wounding, poisoning, infection, aging, and temperature shock, and may result from the activity of normal physiological mechanisms of stress response, such as induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis) or release of bioactive proteins, cytokines

Apoptosis normally functions to “clean” tissues from wounded and genetically damaged cells, while cytokines serve to mobilize the defense system of the organism against the pathogen. However, under conditions of severe injury, both stress response mechanisms can by themselves act as causes of death. For example, lethality from radiation may result from massive p53-mediated apoptosis occurring in hematopoietic, immune and digestive systems. Rational pharmacological regulation of NF-κB may increase survival under conditions of severe stress. Control over these factors may allow control of both inflammatory response and the life-death decision of cells from the injured organs. Tissues that may be protected from apoptosis by inducing flagellin include the GI tract, lungs, kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system, blood vessel endothelium, central and peripheral neural system, hematopoietic (HP) progenitor cells, immune system, and hair follicles.

The protective role of flagellin is mediated by transcriptional activation of multiple genes coding for: a) anti-apoptotic proteins that block both major apoptotic pathways, b) cytokines and growth factors that induce proliferation and survival of HP and other stem cells, and c) potent ROS-scavenging antioxidant proteins, such as MnSOD (SOD-2). Thus, by temporal activation of NF-κB for radioprotection, it may be possible to achieve not only suppression of apoptosis in cancer patients, but also reduction of the rate of secondary cancer incidence because of simultaneous immunostimulatory effect. These results may be achieved if NF-κB is activated by Toll-like receptors.

Another attractive property of the NF-κB pathway as a target is its activation by numerous natural factors that can be considered as candidate radioprotectants. Among these, are multiple pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMPs are molecules that are not found in the host organism, are characteristic for large groups of pathogens, and cannot be easily mutated. They are recognized by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), the key sensor elements of innate immunity. TLRs act as a first warning mechanism of immune system by inducing migration and activation of immune cells directly or through cytokine release. TLRs are type I membrane proteins known to work as homo- and heterodimers. Upon ligand binding, TLRs recruit MyD88 protein, an indispensable signaling adaptor for most TLRs. The signaling cascade that follows leads to effects including (i) activation of NF-κB pathway, and (ii) activation of MAPKs, including Jun N-terminal kinease (JNK). The activation of the NF-κB pathway by Toll-like receptor ligands makes the ligands attractive as potential radioprotectors. Unlike cytokines, many PAMPs have little effect besides activating TLRs and thus are unlikely to produce side effects. Moreover, many PAMPs are present in humans.

Consistently with their function of immunocyte activation, all TLRs are expressed in spleen and peripheral blood leukocytes, with more TLR-specific patterns of expression in other lymphoid organs and subsets of leukocytes. However, TLRs are also expressed in other tissues and organs of the body, e.g., TLR1 is expressed ubiquitously, TLR5 is also found in GI epithelium and endothelium, and TLRs 2, 6, 7 and 8 are known to be expressed in lung.

1. DEFINITIONS

It is to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting. It must be noted that, as used in the specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

For the recitation of numeric ranges herein, each intervening number there between with the same degree of precision is explicitly contemplated. For example, for the range of 6-9, the numbers 7 and 8 are contemplated in addition to 6 and 9, and for the range 6.0-7.0, the numbers 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6,9, and 7.0 are explicitly contemplated.

As used herein, the terms “administer” when used to describe the dosage of an agent that induces NF-κB activity, means a single dose or multiple doses of the agent.

As used herein, the term “analog” when used in the context of a peptide or polypeptide, means a peptide or polypeptide comprising one or more non-standard amino acids or other structural variations from the conventional set of amino acids.

As used herein, the term “antibody” means an antibody of classes IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD or IgE, or fragments, fragments or derivatives thereof, including Fab, F(ab′)2, Fd, and single chain antibodies, diabodies, bispecific antibodies, bifunctional antibodies and derivatives thereof. The antibody may be a monoclonal antibody, polyclonal antibody, affinity purified antibody, or mixtures thereof which exhibits sufficient binding specificity to a desired epitope or a sequence derived therefrom. The antibody may also be a chimeric antibody. The antibody may be derivatized by the attachment of one or more chemical, peptide, or polypeptide moieties known in the art. The antibody may be conjugated with a chemical moiety.

As used herein, “apoptosis” refers to a form of cell death that includes progressive contraction of cell volume with the preservation of the integrity of cytoplasmic organelles; condensation of chromatin (i.e., nuclear condensation), as viewed by light or electron microscopy; and/or DNA cleavage into nucleosome-sized fragments, as determined by centrifuged sedimentation assays. Cell death occurs when the membrane integrity of the cell is lost (e.g., membrane blebbing) with engulfment of intact cell fragments (“apoptotic bodies”) by phagocytic cells.

As used herein, the term “cancer” means any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division; it may spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system or the blood stream.

As used herein, the term “cancer treatment” means any treatment for cancer known in the art including, but not limited to, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

As used herein, the term “combination with” when used to describe administration of an agent that induces NF-κB activity and an additional treatment means that the agent may be administered prior to, together with, after, or metronomically with the additional treatment. The term “together with,” “simultaneous” or “simultaneously” as used herein, means that the additional treatment and the agent of this invention are administered within 48 hours, preferably 24 hours, more preferably 12 hours, yet more preferably 6 hours, and most preferably 3 hours or less, of each other. The term “metronomically” as used herein means the administration of the agent at times different from the additional treatment and at certain frequency relative to repeat administration and/or the additional treatment.

The agent may be administered at any point prior to the additional treatment including, but not limited to, about 1-48 hr prior to the additional treatment. The agent may be administered at any point after the additional treatment including, but not limited to, about 1-48 hr after exposure.

As used herein, the term “derivative”, when used in the context of a peptide or polypeptide, means a peptide or polypeptide different other than in primary structure (amino acids and amino acid analogs). By way of illustration, derivatives may differ by being glycosylated, one form of post-translational modification. For example, peptides or polypeptides may exhibit glycosylation patterns due to expression in heterologous systems. If at least one biological activity is retained, then these peptides or polypeptides are derivatives according to the invention. Other derivatives include, but are not limited to, fusion peptides or fusion polypeptides having a covalently modified N- or C-terminus, PEGylated peptides or polypeptides, peptides or polypeptides associated with lipid moieties, alkylated peptides or polypeptides, peptides or polypeptides linked via an amino acid side-chain functional group to other peptides, polypeptides or chemicals, and additional modifications as would be understood in the art.

As used herein, the term “fragment” when used in the context of a peptide or polypeptide, means a portion of a reference peptide or polypeptide.

As used herein, the term “homolog” when used in the context of a peptide or polypeptide, means a peptide or polypeptide sharing a common evolutionary ancestor.

As used herein, the term “treat” or “treating” when referring to protection of a mammal from a condition, means preventing, suppressing, repressing, or eliminating the condition. Preventing the condition involves administering a composition of this invention to a mammal prior to onset of the condition. Suppressing the condition involves administering a composition of this invention to a mammal after induction of the condition but before its clinical appearance. Repressing the condition involves administering a composition of this invention to a mammal after clinical appearance of the condition such that the condition is reduced or maintained. Elimination the condition involves administering a composition of this invention to a mammal after clinical appearance of the condition such that the mammal no longer suffers the condition.

As used herein, the term “tumor cell” means any cell associated with a cancer.

As used herein, the term “variant” when used in the context of a peptide or polypeptide, means a peptide or polypeptide that differs in amino acid sequence by the insertion, deletion, or conservative substitution of amino acids, but retain at least one biological activity. Representative examples of “biological activity” include, but are not limited to, the ability to bind to TLR5 and to be bound by a specific antibody. A conservative substitution of an amino acid, i.e., replacing an amino acid with a different amino acid of similar properties (e.g., hydrophilicity, degree and distribution of charged regions) is recognized in the art as typically involving a minor change. These minor changes can be identified, in part, by considering the hydropathic index of amino acids, as understood in the art. Kyte et al., J. Mol. Biol. 157:105-132 (1982). The hydropathic index of an amino acid is based on a consideration of its hydrophobicity and charge. It is known in the art that amino acids of similar hydropathic indexes can be substituted and still retain protein function. In one aspect, amino acids having hydropathic indexes of ±2 are substituted. The hydrophilicity of amino acids can also be used to reveal substitutions that would result in proteins retaining biological function. A consideration of the hydrophilicity of amino acids in the context of a peptide permits calculation of the greatest local average hydrophilicity of that peptide, a useful measure that has been reported to correlate well with antigenicity and immunogenicity. This is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,554,101, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. Substitution of amino acids having similar hydrophilicity values can result in peptides retaining biological activity, for example immunogenicity, as is understood in the art. In one aspect, substitutions are performed with amino acids having hydrophilicity values within ±2 of each other. Both the hydrophobicity index and the hydrophilicity value of amino acids are influenced by the particular side chain of that amino acid. Consistent with that observation, amino acid substitutions that are compatible with biological function are understood to depend on the relative similarity of the amino acids, and particularly the side chains of those amino acids, as revealed by the hydrophobicity, hydrophilicity, charge, size, and other properties. A variant may also be a polypeptide fragment or a polypeptide derivative.

2. REDUCING A SIDE EFFECT OF CANCER TREATMENT

This invention relates to a method of reducing a side effect of cancer treatment in a mammal comprising administering to a mammal in need thereof a composition comprising flagellin, which may induce NF-kB. While not being bound by theory, the side effect may be an effect of damage to normal tissue attributable to treatment of a constitutively active NF-kB cancer.

a. Cancer Treatment

The cancer treatment may comprise administration of a chemotherapy, which may be a cytotoxic agent or cytostatic agent, or combination thereof. Cytotoxic agents prevent cancer cells from multiplying by: (1) interfering with the cell's ability to replicate DNA and (2) inducing cell death and/or apoptosis in the cancer cells. Cytostatic agents act via modulating, interfering or inhibiting the processes of cellular signal transduction which regulate cell proliferation and sometimes at low continuous levels.

Classes of compounds that may be used as cytotoxic agents include, but are not limited to, the following: alkylating agents (including, without limitation, nitrogen mustards, ethylenimine derivatives, alkyl sulfonates, nitrosoureas and triazenes): uracil mustard, chlormethine, cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), ifosfamide, melphalan, chlorambucil, pipobroman, triethylene-melamine, triethylenethiophosphoramine, busulfan, carmustine, lomustine, streptozocin, dacarbazine, and temozolomide; antimetabolites (including, without limitation, folic acid antagonists, pyrimidine analogs, purine analogs and adenosine deaminase inhibitors): methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil, floxuridine, cytarabine, 6-mercaptopurine, 6-thioguanine, fludarabine phosphate, pentostatine, and gemcitabine; natural products and their derivatives (for example, vinca alkaloids, antitumor antibiotics, enzymes, lymphokines and epipodophyllotoxins): vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine, bleomycin, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, idarubicin, ara-c, paclitaxel (paclitaxel is commercially available as Taxol®), mithramycin, deoxyco-formycin, mitomycin-c, 1-asparaginase, interferons (preferably IFN-α), etoposide, and teniposide. Other proliferative cytotoxic agents are navelbene, CPT-11, anastrazole, letrazole, capecitabine, reloxafine, cyclophosphamide, ifosamide, and droloxafine.

Microtubule affecting agents interfere with cellular mitosis and are well known in the art for their cytotoxic activity. Microtubule affecting agents useful in the invention include, but are not limited to, allocolchicine (NSC 406042), halichondrin B (NSC 609395), colchicine (NSC 757), colchicine derivatives (e.g., NSC 33410), dolastatin 10 (NSC 376128), maytansine (NSC 153858), rhizoxin (NSC 332598), paclitaxel (Taxol®, NSC 125973), Taxol® derivatives (e.g., derivatives (e.g., NSC 608832), thiocolchicine (NSC 361792), trityl cysteine (NSC 83265), vinblastine sulfate (NSC 49842), vincristine sulfate (NSC 67574), natural and synthetic epothilones including but not limited to epothilone A, epothilone B, and discodermolide (see Service, (1996) Science, 274:2009) estramustine, nocodazole, MAP4, and the like. Examples of such agents are also described in Bulinski (1997) J. Cell Sci. 110:3055 3064; Panda (1997) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:10560-10564; Muhlradt (1997) Cancer Res. 57:3344-3346; Nicolaou (1997) Nature 387:268-272; Vasquez (1997) Mol. Biol. Cell. 8:973-985; and Panda (1996) J. Biol. Chem 271:29807-29812.

Also suitable are cytotoxic agents such as epidophyllotoxin; an antineoplastic enzyme; a topoisomerase inhibitor; procarbazine; mitoxantrone; platinum coordination complexes such as cisplatin (cisplatinum) and carboplatin (carboplatinum); biological response modifiers; growth inhibitors; antihormonal therapeutic agents; leucovorin; tegafur; and haematopoietic growth factors.

Cytostatic agents that may be used include, but are not limited to, hormones and steroids (including synthetic analogs): 17α-ethinylestradiol, diethylstilbestrol, testosterone, prednisone, fluoxymesterone, dromostanolone propionate, testolactone, megestrolacetate, methylprednisolone, methyl-testosterone, prednisolone, triamcinolone, hlorotrianisene, hydroxyprogesterone, aminoglutethimide, estramustine, medroxyprogesteroneacetate, leuprolide, flutamide, toremifene, zoladex.

Other cytostatic agents are antiangiogenics such as matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors, and other VEGF inhibitors, such as anti-VEGF antibodies and small molecules such as ZD6474 and SU6668 are also included. Anti-Her2 antibodies from Genetech may also be utilized. A suitable EGFR inhibitor is EKB-569 (an irreversible inhibitor). Also included are Imclone antibody C225 immunospecific for the EGFR, and src inhibitors.

Also suitable for use as an cytostatic agent is Casodex® (bicalutamide, Astra Zeneca) which renders androgen-dependent carcinomas non-proliferative. Yet another example of a cytostatic agent is the antiestrogen Tamoxifen® which inhibits the proliferation or growth of estrogen dependent breast cancer. Inhibitors of the transduction of cellular proliferative signals are cytostatic agents. Representative examples include epidermal growth factor inhibitors, Her-2 inhibitors, MEK-1 kinase inhibitors, MAPK kinase inhibitors, PI3 inhibitors, Src kinase inhibitors, and PDGF inhibitors.

A variety of cancers may be treated according to this invention including, but not limited to, the following: carcinoma including that of the bladder (including accelerated and metastatic bladder cancer), breast, colon (including colorectal cancer), head and neck cancer, oral cancer, islet cell carcinoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, astrocytoma, urethral cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, basal cell carcinoma, bile duct cancer, bone cancer, brain tumor (including glioma, astrocytoma, ependymoma and others), osteosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, burkitt lymphoma, cervical cancers, childhood cancers, eye cancer, mouth cancer, mesothelioma, nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer, kidney, liver, lung (including small and non-small cell lung cancer and lung adenocarcinoma), ovary, prostate, testes, genitourinary tract, lymphatic system, rectum, larynx, pancreas (including exocrine pancreatic carcinoma), esophagus, stomach, gall bladder, cervix, thyroid, and skin (including squamous cell carcinoma); hematopoietic tumors of lymphoid lineage including leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma, T-cell lymphoma, Hodgkins lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, hairy cell lymphoma, histiocytic lymphoma, and Burketts lymphoma; hematopoietic tumors of myeloid lineage including acute and chronic myelogenous leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome, myeloid leukemia, and promyelocytic leukemia; solid tumor cancers; tumors of the central and peripheral nervous system including astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, glioma, and schwannomas; tumors of mesenchymal origin including fibrosarcoma, rhabdomyoscarcoma, and osteosarcoma; and other tumors including melanoma, xenoderma pigmentosum, keratoactanthoma, seminoma, thyroid follicular cancer, teratocarcinoma, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract or the abdominopelvic cavity. The cancer may also be bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer including squamous cell cariconoma, non-small lung cancer, oral cancer, islet cell carcinoma, adrenocortical carcinoma, astrocytoma, urethral cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, testicular cancer, basal cell carcinoma, bile duct cancer, bone cancer, brain tumor (including glioma, astrocytoma, ependymoma and others), osteosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, burkitt lymphoma, Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, neuroblastoma, sarcomas, myeloma, melanoma, osteosarcoma, cervical cancers, childhood cancers, eye cancer, mouth cancer, mesothelioma, nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer.

(1) Cisplatinum Treatments

As described above, the cancer treatment may be cisplatinum, which is a platinum-containing compound that slows or stops the growth of cancer cells. Cisplatinum inhibits DNA synthesis by the formation of DNA cross-links, which denatures the double helix. Cisplatinum also binds to DNA bases such as two adjacent guanines and disrupts DNA function because cisplatinum damaged DNA is not easily recognized by cell enzymes. Cisplatinum may also bind proteins.

The length of treatment of cisplatinum may depend upon the type of drugs a subject is taking, how well the body responds to them, and the type of cancer. Cisplatinum may be rapidly distributed into the tissue and may be found in high concentrations in the kidneys, liver, ovaries, uterus, and lungs. The half-life of cisplatinum initially is 20-30 minutes. A beta deterioration may be 60 minutes and terminal greater than 24 hours. Cisplatinum may have a secondary half-life of 44-73 hours. Cisplatinum may be administered in daily dosages of 50-270 mg/m2/day. Cisplatinum may also be administered a daily dosage schedule for 15-20 mg/m2/day, 60-100 mg/m2/day, 50-70 mg/m2/day, 75-100 mg/m2/day or 100-120 mg/m2/day for 3-4 weeks.

Cisplatinum may be combined in regimens with other cancer related therapies and drugs including, but not limited to, CAP, CISCA, cisplatin-docetaxel, CMV, gemcitabine, M-VAC, CDDP/VP-16, COPE, docetaxel-trastuzumab, fluorouracil, vinorelbine, BIP, PFL, topotecan, AP, irinotecan, TCF, TIP, EAP, ECF, EFP, FAP, FUP, EP/EMA, CABO, cetuximab, CF, interferon (IFN), IPA, GC, EP, bevacizumab, gemcitabine, DHAP, ESHAP, pemetrexed, CCDT, dacarbazine-carmustine, deacarbazine-interferon-α2-aldesleukin, and IL-2-IFN. After treatment with cisplatinum, the following parameters may be monitored such as renal function, electrolytes, audiography, neurological exam, liver function tests, CBC with differential and platelet count, urine output, and urinalysis.

(2) Cancer Treatment Side Effect

The cancer treatment may cause or be associated with a side effect selected from the group consisting of: myelosuppression, renal toxicity, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, anemia, malnutrition, hair loss, mouth sores, memory loss, hemorrhage, cardiotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, ototoxicity, and post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment. The cancer treatment may also cause a side effect such as weight loss or behavioral changes.

Side effects from cisplatinum may include those described above as well as thinned or brittle hair, loss of appetite or weight, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, change in taste, numbness or tingling in the body including the fingertips and toes, fatigue, unusual bruising or bleeding, black tarry stools, fever, chills, dizziness or feeling of faintness, fever, chills, renal toxicity, mild alopecia, myelosuppression, hearing impairment, pain in one's side or back, shortness of breath or wheezing, swelling of feet or ankles, seizures and rash.

(3) Radiation

The chemotherapy may also be used to treat cancer in conjunction with radiation therapy. Injury and death of normal cells from ionizing radiation is a combination of direct radiation-induced damage to the exposed cells and an active genetically programmed cell reaction to radiation-induced stress resulting in suicidal death or apoptosis. Apoptosis plays a key role in massive cell loss occurring in several radiosensitive organs (i.e., hematopoietic and immune systems, epithelium of digestive tract, etc.), the failure of which determines general radiosensitivity of the organism.

Exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) may be short- or long-term, it may be applied as a single or multiple doses, to the whole body or locally. Thus, nuclear accidents or military attacks may involve exposure to a single high dose of whole body irradiation (sometimes followed by a long-term poisoning with radioactive isotopes). The same is true (with strict control of the applied dose) for pretreatment of patients for bone marrow transplantation when it is necessary to prepare hematopoietic organs for donor's bone marrow by “cleaning” them from the host blood precursors. Cancer treatment may involve multiple doses of local irradiation that greatly exceeds lethal dose if it were applied as a total body irradiation. Poisoning or treatment with radioactive isotopes results in a long-term local exposure to radiation of targeted organs (e.g., thyroid gland in the case of inhalation of 125I). Finally, there are many physical forms of ionizing radiation differing significantly in the severity of biological effects.

At the molecular and cellular level, radiation particles are able to produce breakage and cross-linking in the DNA, proteins, cell membranes and other macromolecular structures. Ionizing radiation also induces secondary damage to the cellular components by giving rise to the free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Multiple repair systems counteract this damage, such as several DNA repair pathways that restore the integrity and fidelity of the DNA, and antioxidant chemicals and enzymes that scavenge the free radicals and ROS and reduce the oxidized proteins and lipids. Cellular checkpoint systems detect the DNA defects and delay cell cycle progression until damage is repaired or decision to commit cell to growth arrest or programmed cell death (apoptosis) is reached

Radiation can cause damage to mammalian organism ranging from mild mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of low doses to almost instant killing by high doses. Overall radiosensitivity of the organism is determined by pathological alterations developed in several sensitive tissues that include hematopoietic system, reproductive system and different epithelia with high rate of cell turnover.

The acute pathological outcome of gamma irradiation leading to death is different for different doses and is determined by the failure of certain organs that define the threshold of the organism's sensitivity to each particular dose. Thus, lethality at lower doses occurs from bone marrow aplasia, while moderate doses kill faster by inducing gastrointestinal (GI) syndrome. Very high doses of radiation can cause almost instant death eliciting neuronal degeneration.

Organisms that survive a period of acute toxicity of radiation can suffer from long-term remote consequences that include radiation-induced carcinogenesis and fibrosis developing in exposed organs (e.g., kidney, liver or lungs) months and years after irradiation.

Cellular DNA is the major target of IR causing a variety of types of DNA damage (genotoxic stress) by direct and indirect (free radical-based) mechanisms. All organisms maintain DNA repair system capable of effective recovery of radiation-damaged DNA; however, errors in the DNA repair process may lead to mutations.

Tumors are generally more sensitive to gamma radiation and can be treated with multiple local doses that cause relatively low damage to normal tissue. Nevertheless, in some instances, damage of normal tissues is a limiting factor in application of gamma radiation for cancer treatment. The use of gamma-irradiation during cancer therapy by conventional, three-dimensional conformal or even more focused BeamCath delivery has also dose-limiting toxicities caused by cumulative effect of irradiation and inducing the damage of the stem cells of rapidly renewing normal tissues, such as bone marrow and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

At high doses, radiation-induced lethality is associated with so-called hematopoietic and gastrointestinal radiation syndromes. Hematopoietic syndrome is characterized by loss of hematopoietic cells and their progenitors making it impossible to regenerate blood and lymphoid system. Death usually occurs as a consequence of infection (result of immunosuppression), hemorrhage and/or anemia. GI syndrome is caused by massive cell death in the intestinal epithelium, predominantly in the small intestine, followed by disintegration of intestinal wall and death from bacteriemia and sepsis. Hematopoietic syndrome usually prevails at the lower doses of radiation and leads to a more delayed death than GI syndrome.

In the past, radioprotectants were typically antioxidants—both synthetic and natural. More recently, cytokines and growth factors have been added to the list of radioprotectants. The mechanism of their radioprotection is considered to be a result of a facilitating effect on regeneration of sensitive tissues. There is no clear functional distinction between both groups of radioprotectants, however, since some cytokines induce the expression of cellular antioxidant proteins, such as manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and metallothionein.

The measure of protection for a particular agent is expressed by dose modification factor (DMF or DRF). DMF is determined by irradiating the radioprotector treated subject and untreated control subjects with a range of radiation doses and then comparing the survival or some other endpoints. DMF is commonly calculated for 30-day survival (LD50/30 drug-treated divided by LD50/30 vehicle-treated) and quantifies the protection of the hematopoietic system. In order to estimate gastrointestinal system protection, LD50 and DMF are calculated for 6- or 7-day survival. DMF values provided herein are 30-day unless indicated otherwise.

As shown below, flagellin possesses strong pro-survival activity at the cellular level and on the organism as a whole. In response to super-lethal doses of radiation, flagellin inhibits both gastrointestinal and hematopoietic syndromes, which are the major causes of death from acute radiation exposure. As a result of these properties, flagellin may be used to treat the effects of natural radiation events and nuclear accidents. Moreover, since flagellin acts through mechanisms different from all presently known radioprotectants, flagellin can be used in combination with other radioprotectants, thereby, dramatically increasing the scale of protection from ionizing radiation.

As opposed to conventional radioprotective agents (e.g., scavengers of free radicals), flagellin activity may not reduce primary radiation-mediated damage but may act against secondary events involving active cell reaction to primary damage, therefore complementing the existing lines of defense. Pifithrin-alpha, a pharmacological inhibitor of p53 (a key mediator of radiation response in mammalian cells), is an example of this new class of radioprotectants. However, the activity of p53 inhibitors is limited to protection of the hematopoietic system and has no protective effect in digestive tract (gastrointestinal syndrome), therefore, reducing therapeutic value of these compounds. Anti-apoptotic pharmaceuticals with broader range of activity are desperately needed.

Flagellin may be used as a radioprotective agent to extend the range of tolerable radiation doses by increasing radioresistance beyond the levels achievable by currently available measures (shielding and application of existing bioprotective agents) and drastically increase the chances of survival, for example, in case of onboard nuclear accidents or large-scale solar particle events. With an approximate DMF (30-day survival) greater than 1.5, the NF-κB inducer flagellin is more effective than any currently reported natural compound.

Flagellin may be also useful for treating irreplaceable cell loss caused by low-dose irradiation, for example, in the central nervous system and reproductive organs. Flagellin may also be used during cancer chemotherapy to treat the side effects associated with chemotherapy, including alopecia.

In one embodiment, a mammal is treated for exposure to radiation, comprising administering to the mammal a composition comprising a therapeutically effective amount of a composition comprising flagellin. The composition comprising flagellin may be administered in combination with one or more radioprotectants. The one or more radioprotectants may be any agent that treats the effects of radiation exposure including, but not limited to, antioxidants, free radical scavengers and cytokines

Flagellin may inhibit radiation-induced programmed cell death in response to damage in DNA and other cellular structures; however, flagellin may not deal with damage at the cellular level and may not prevent mutations. Free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are the major cause of mutations and other intracellular damage. Antioxidants and free radical scavengers are effective at preventing damage by free radicals. The combination of flagellin and an antioxidant or free radical scavenger may result in less extensive injury, higher survival, and improved health for exposure. Antioxidants and free radical scavengers that may be used in the practice of the invention include, but are not limited to, thiols, such as cysteine, cysteamine, glutathione and bilirubin; amifostine (WR-2721); vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin E; and flavonoids such as orientin and vicenin derived from Indian holy basil (Ocimum sanctum).

Flagellin may also be administered in combination with a number of cytokines and growth factors that confer radioprotection by replenishing and/or protecting the radiosensitive stem cell populations. Radioprotection with minimal side effects may be achieved by the use of stem cell factor (SCF, c-kit ligand), Flt-3 ligand, and interleukin-1 fragment IL-1b-rd. Protection may be achieved through induction of proliferation of stem cells (all mentioned cytokines), and prevention of their apoptosis (SCF). The treatment allows accumulation of leukocytes and their precursors prior to irradiation thus enabling quicker reconstitution of the immune system after irradiation. SCF efficiently rescues lethally irradiated mice with DMF in the range of 1.3-1.35 and is also effective against gastrointestinal syndrome. Flt-3 ligand also provides strong protection in mice (70-80% 30-day survival at LD100/30, equivalent to DMF>1.2) and rabbits.

In addition, flagellin may be used with a combination of cytokines which may provide enhanced radioprotection. The cytokine combination may be TPO combined with interleukin 4 (IL-4) and/or interleukin 11 (IL-11); GM-CSF combined with IL-3; G-CSF combined with Flt-3 ligand; 4F combination: SCF, Flt-3 ligand, TPO and IL-3; or 5F combination: 4F with addition of SDF-1.

In addition, gastrointestinal radioprotectors may be used in combination with flagellin, including transforming growth factor beta3 (TGFb3), interleukin 11 (IL-11), and mentioned keratinocyte growth factor (KGF). While these radioprotectors also protect the intestine, they are likely to synergize with flagellin or flagellin related polypeptides since the results below show that flagellin and flagellin related polypeptides protect endothelium, while these gastrointestinal radioprotectors protect epithelium of GI tract.

Several factors, while not cytokines by nature, stimulate the proliferation of immunocytes and may be used in combination with flagellin. For example, 5-AED (5-androstenediol) is a steroid that stimulates the expression of cytokines and increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections. A subcutaneous injection of 5-AED in mice 24 h before irradiation improved survival with DMF=1.26. Synthetic compounds, such as ammonium tri-chloro(dioxoethylene-O,O′—) tellurate (AS-101), may also be used to induce secretion of numerous cytokines and for combination with flagellin. Additional radioprotectors include, growth hormone (GH), thrombopoietin (TPO), interleukin 3 (IL-3), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and stromal derived factor-1 (SDF-1).

Growth factors and cytokines may also be used in combination with flagellin to provide protection against gastrointestinal syndrome. Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) promotes proliferation and differentiation in the intestinal mucosa, and increases the post-irradiation cell survival in the intestinal crypts. Hematopoietic cytokine and radioprotectant SCF may also increase intestinal stem cell survival and associated short-term organism survival.

Flagellin may offer protection against both gastrointestinal (GI) and hematopoietic syndromes. Since mice exposed to 15 Gy of whole-body lethal irradiation die mostly from GI syndrome, a composition comprising flagellin and one or more inhibitors of GI syndrome may be more effective Inhibitors of GI syndrome that may be used in the practice of the invention include, but are not limited to, cytokines such as SCF and KGF.

The composition comprising flagellin may be administered at any point prior to exposure to radiation including, but not limited to, about 1-48 hr prior to exposure. The composition comprising flagellin may be administered at any point after exposure to radiation including, but not limited to, about 1-48 hr after exposure to radiation.

3. AGENT

a. Flagellin

This invention also relates to an agent, which may be flagellin. Flagellin may possess strong pro-survival activity at the cellular level and for the organism as a whole. Flagellin may also stimulate natural killer (NK) cells and T-lymphocytes, which are the major components of anti-tumor immunity (Tsujimoto H, et. al., J Leukoc Biol. 2005 October; 78(4):888-97; Caron G., et. al., J Immunol. 2005 Aug. 1; 175(3):1551-7; Honko A N & Mizel S B, Immunol Res. 2005; 33(1):83-101). As a result, flagellin may be used to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments.

The flagellin may be a flagellin-related polypeptide. The flagellin may be a flagellin or flagellin-related polypeptide from any source, including a variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial species. Flagellin may have the amino acid sequence of one of 23 flagellins from bacterial species that are depicted in FIG. 7 of U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0044429, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. The nucleotide sequences encoding the flagellin polypeptides listed in FIG. 7 of U.S. 2003/0044429 are publicly available at sources including the NCBI Genbank database.

Flagellin may be the major component of bacterial flagellum. Flagellin may be composed of three domains (FIG. 9). Domain 1 (D1) and domain 2 (D2) may be discontinuous and may be formed when residues in the amino terminus and carboxy terminus are juxtaposed by the formation of a hairpin structure. The amino and carboxy terminus comprising the D1 and D2 domains may be most conserved, whereas the middle hypervariable domain (D3) may be highly variable. Studies with a recombinant protein containing the amino D1 and D2 and carboxyl D1 and D2 separated by an Escherichia coli hinge (ND1-2/ECH/CD2) indicate that D1 and D2 may be bioactive when coupled to an ECH element. This chimera, but not the hinge alone, may include IκBα degradation, NF-κB activation, and NO and IL-8 production in two intestinal epithelial cell lines. The non-conserved D3 domain may be on the surface of the flagellar filament and may contain the major antigenic epitopes. The potent proinflammatory activity of flagellin may reside in the highly conserved N and C D1 and D2 regions.

Flagellin may include NF-κB activity by binding to Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5). The TLR family may be composed of at least 10 members and is essential in innate immune defense against pathogens. The innate immune system may recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) that are conserved on microbial pathogens. TLR may recognize a conserved structure that is particular to bacterial flagellin. The conserved structure may be composed of a large group of residues that are somewhat permissive to variation in amino acid content. Smith et al., Nat Immunol. 4:1247-53 (2003) have identified 13 conserved amino acids in flagellin that are part of the conserved structure recognized by TLR5. The 13 conserved amino acids of flagellin that may be important for TLR5 activity are shown in FIG. 24.

The flagellin may be from a species of Salmonella, a representative example of which is S. dublin (encoded by GenBank Accession Number M84972) (SEQ ID NO: 1). The flagellin related-polypeptide may be a fragment, variant, analog, homolog, or derivative of SEQ ID NO: 1, or combination thereof, that binds to TLR5 and induces TLR5-mediated activity, such as activation of NF-κB activity. A fragment, variant, analog, homolog, or derivative of flagellin may be obtained by rational-based design based on the domain structure of Flagellin and the conserved structure recognized by TLR5.

The flagellin may comprise at least 10, 11, 12, or 13 of the 13 conserved amino acids shown in FIG. 24 (positions 89, 90, 91, 95, 98, 101, 115, 422, 423, 426, 431, 436 and 452). The flagellin may be at least 30-99% identical to amino acids 1-174 and 418-505 of SEQ ID NO: 1. FIG. 26 lists the percentage identity of the amino- and carboxy-terminus of flagellin with known TLR-5 stimulating activity, as compared to SEQ ID NO: 1.

The flagellin may be a flagellin polypeptide from any Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacterial species including, but not limited to, the flagellin polypeptides disclosed in U.S. Pat. Pub. 2003/000044429, the contents of which are incorporated herein, and the flagellin peptides corresponding to the Accession numbers listed in the BLAST results shown in FIGS. 25A-D, or variants thereof.

The flagellin may stimulate TLR5 activity. Numerous deletional mutants of flagellin have been made that retain at least some TLR5 stimulating activity. The flagellin may be a deletional mutant disclosed in the Examples herein, and may comprise a sequence translated from GenBank Accession number D13689 missing amino acids 185-306 or 444-492, or from GenBank Accession number M84973 missing amino acids 179-415, or a variant thereof.

The flagellin may comprise transposon insertions and changes to the variable D3 domain. The D3 domain may be substituted in part, or in whole, with a hinge or linker polypeptide that allows the D1 and D2 domains to properly fold such that the variant stimulates TLR5 activity. The variant hinge elements may be found in the E. coli MukB protein and may have a sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NOS: 3 and 4, or a variant thereof

4. COMPOSITION

This invention also relates to a composition comprising a therapeutically effective amount of the agent. The composition may be a pharmaceutical composition, which may be produced using methods well known in the art. As described above, the composition comprising the agent may be administered to a mammal for the treatment of conditions associated with apoptosis including, but not limited to, exposure to radiation, side effect from cancer treatments, stress and cell aging. The composition may also comprise additional agents including, but not limited to, a radioprotectant or a chemotherapeutic drug.

a. Administration

Compositions of this invention may be administered in any manner including, but not limited to, orally, parenterally, sublingually, transdermally, rectally, transmucosally, topically, via inhalation, via buccal administration, intrapleurally, or combinations thereof. Parenteral administration includes, but is not limited to, intravenous, intraarterial, intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intrathecal, and intraarticular. Transmucosally administration includes, but is not limited to intranasal. For veterinary use, the composition may be administered as a suitably acceptable formulation in accordance with normal veterinary practice. The veterinarian can readily determine the dosing regimen and route of administration that is most appropriate for a particular animal.

The composition may be administered prior to, after or simultaneously with a stress that triggers apoptosis, or a combination thereof. The composition may be administered from about 1 hour to about 48 hours prior to or after exposure to a stress that triggers apoptosis.

b. Formulation

Compositions of this invention may be in the form of tablets or lozenges formulated in a conventional manner. For example, tablets and capsules for oral administration may contain conventional excipients including, but not limited to, binding agents, fillers, lubricants, disintegrants and wetting agents. Binding agents include, but are not limited to, syrup, accacia, gelatin, sorbitol, tragacanth, mucilage of starch and polyvinylpyrrolidone. Fillers include, but are not limited to, lactose, sugar, microcrystalline cellulose, maizestarch, calcium phosphate, and sorbitol. Lubricants include, but are not limited to, magnesium stearate, stearic acid, talc, polyethylene glycol, and silica. Disintegrants include, but are not limited to, potato starch and sodium starch glycollate. Wetting agents include, but are not limited to, sodium lauryl sulfate). Tablets may be coated according to methods well known in the art.

Compositions of this invention may also be liquid formulations including, but not limited to, aqueous or oily suspensions, solutions, emulsions, syrups, and elixirs. The compositions may also be formulated as a dry product for constitution with water or other suitable vehicle before use. Such liquid preparations may contain additives including, but not limited to, suspending agents, emulsifying agents, nonaqueous vehicles and preservatives. Suspending agent include, but are not limited to, sorbitol syrup, methyl cellulose, glucose/sugar syrup, gelatin, hydroxyethylcellulose, carboxymethyl cellulose, aluminum stearate gel, and hydrogenated edible fats. Emulsifying agents include, but are not limited to, lecithin, sorbitan monooleate, and acacia. Nonaqueous vehicles include, but are not limited to, edible oils, almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, oily esters, propylene glycol, and ethyl alcohol. Preservatives include, but are not limited to, methyl or propyl p-hydroxybenzoate and sorbic acid.

Compositions of this invention may also be formulated as suppositories, which may contain suppository bases including, but not limited to, cocoa butter or glycerides. Compositions of this invention may also be formulated for inhalation, which may be in a form including, but not limited to, a solution, suspension, or emulsion that may be administered as a dry powder or in the form of an aerosol using a propellant, such as dichlorodifluoromethane or trichlorofluoromethane. Compositions of this invention may also be formulated transdermal formulations comprising aqueous or nonaqueous vehicles including, but not limited to, creams, ointments, lotions, pastes, medicated plaster, patch, or membrane.

Compositions of this invention may also be formulated for parenteral administration including, but not limited to, by injection or continuous infusion. Formulations for injection may be in the form of suspensions, solutions, or emulsions in oily or aqueous vehicles, and may contain formulation agents including, but not limited to, suspending, stabilizing, and dispersing agents. The composition may also be provided in a powder form for reconstitution with a suitable vehicle including, but not limited to, sterile, pyrogen-free water.

Compositions of this invention may also be formulated as a depot preparation, which may be administered by implantation or by intramuscular injection. The compositions may be formulated with suitable polymeric or hydrophobic materials (as an emulsion in an acceptable oil, for example), ion exchange resins, or as sparingly soluble derivatives (as a sparingly soluble salt, for example).

c. Dosage

A therapeutically effective amount of the agent required for use in therapy varies with the nature of the condition being treated, the length of time that induction of NF-κB activity is desired, and the age and the condition of the patient, and is ultimately determined by the attendant physician. In general, however, doses employed for adult human treatment typically are in the range of 0.001 mg/kg to about 200 mg/kg per day. The dose may be about 1 μg/kg to about 100 μg/kg per day. The desired dose may be conveniently administered in a single dose, or as multiple doses administered at appropriate intervals, for example as two, three, four or more subdoses per day. Multiple doses often are desired, or required, because NF-κB activity in normal cells may be decreased once the agent is no longer administered.

The dosage of flagellin may be at any dosage including, but not limited to, about 1 μg/kg-1 mg/kg.

This invention has multiple aspects, illustrated by the following non-limiting examples.

Example 1

P53 Deficiency Accelerated Development of GI Syndrome in Mice

The primary cause of death from ionizing radiation (IR) of mammals depends on the radiation dose. At doses of up to 9-10 Gy, mice die 12-20 days later, primarily from lethal bone marrow depletion-hematopoietic (HP) syndrome. At this dose, irradiated mice can be rescued from lethality by bone marrow transplantation. Animals that receive >15 Gy die between 7-12 days after treatment (before hematopoietic syndrome can kill them) from complications of damage to the small intestine-gastrointestinal (GI) syndrome. In both cases of HP and GI syndromes, lethal damage of tissues starts from massive p53-dependent apoptosis. This observation allowed us earlier to suggest that p53 could be a determinant of radiation-induced death. Consistently, p53-deficient mice were resistant to doses of radiation that kill through HP syndrome, and lethality of wild type animals receiving 6-11 Gy of gamma radiation could be reduced by temporary pharmacological inhibition of p53 by the small molecule p53 inhibitor pifithrin-alpha (PFT) (Komarov et al 1999). Identification of p53 as a factor sensitizing tissues to genotoxic stress was further strengthened by demonstrating the p53 dependence of hair loss (alopecia) occurring as a result of experimental chemotherapy or radiation. Hence, based on previous observations, one would expect that p53 continues to play an important role in development of lethal GI syndrome after higher doses of IR. Surprisingly, p53-deficiency sensitizes mice to higher doses of IR causing lethal gastro-intestinal syndrome (FIG. 1). Continuous cell proliferation in the crypts of p53-deficient epithelium after IR correlates with accelerated death of damaged cells of crypt and rapid destruction of villi. p53 prolongs survival by inducing growth arrest in the crypts of small intestine thereby preserving integrity of the guts (FIG. 2). Thus, proapoptotic function of p53 promotes hematopoietic syndrome while its growth arrest function delays development of gastro-intestinal syndrome.

The dynamics of cell population in the small intestine have been analyzed in great detail. Cell proliferation in the epithelia of the gut is limited to the crypts where stem cells and early proliferating progenitors are located. After a couple of cell divisions, already differentiated descendants of crypt stem cells move up the villi to be shed at the villar tip. In the small intestine of the mouse, the entire “trip” of the cell (the proliferative compartment to the tip of the villus) normally takes between 3 and 5 days. Although reaction of the small intestine to gamma radiation has been well examined at a pathomorphological level, it still remains unclear what is the exact cause of GI lethality, including the primary event. Death may occur as a direct consequence of the damage of epithelial crypt cells and followed denudation of villi leading to fluid and electrolyte imbalance, bacteremia and endotoxemia. Besides inflammation and stromal responses, endothelial dysfunctions seem to be the important factors contributing to lethality. In summary, pharmacological suppression of p53 that was shown to be so effective as a method of protection from IR-induced HP syndrome, is useless (if not detrimental) against GI syndrome. Therefore, it is necessary to develop alternative approaches to radioprotection of epithelium of small intestine that will rely on another mechanism, such as, for example, activation of NF-κB and subsequent inhibition of cell death.

Example 2

Flagellin Delays Mouse Death Caused by IR-Induced GI Syndrome

Whole body irradiation of mice with 15 Gy gamma radiation caused death within 8 days from GI syndrome providing a conventional model of radiation induced damage of GI tract. To test whether flagellin was capable of protecting GI epithelium from IR, we tested the effect of i.v.-injected flagellin on the dynamics of mouse lethality after 15 Gy of radiation. We used a range of flagellin doses, all of which were significantly lower than the highest tolerable dose known from literature (300 μg/mouse). Irradiation was done 4 hours post treatment. The results of a representative experiment are shown in FIG. 4. As expected, control irradiated mice (that received PBS i.v.) died between 5 and 8 days post-treatment. Animals that received flagellin lived significantly longer; the extension of animal survival correlated with the dose of flagellin. Pathomorphological analysis of the small intestine on day 7 after irradiation revealed dramatic differences between flagellin-treated and control groups (FIG. 5). Intravenous, intraperitoneal and subcutaneous delivery of 0.2 mg/kg of flagellin followed by 13 Gy irradiation afforded similar degree of protection, leading to 85-90% 30-day survival of mice (data not shown). While not being bound by theory, flagellin may be a radioprotectant due to its activation of NF-κB, which presumably acts as an inhibitor of apoptotic death.

Example 3

Flagellin Rescues Mice from Lethal IR-Induced Hematopoietic Syndrome

We next tested whether flagellin had an effect on mouse IR-induced death from HP syndrome that was experimentally induced by lower radiation doses (usually up to 11 Gy) that are incapable of causing lethal GI toxicity. The experiments were done similarly to the above-described ones (FIGS. 14 and 15), however, instead of 15 Gy, mice received 10 Gy, the dose that caused 100% killing in control group by day 13 (FIG. 6). Flagellin-treated group (5 μg/mouse) showed complete protection from this dose of IR surprisingly indicating that flagellin-mediated radioprotection acts not only against GI but also against HP IR-induced syndromes.

Example 4

Time Dependence on the Protective Effect of Flagellin

Mice were next administered flagellin at different times prior to 13 Gy of gamma irradiation. The results of one of such experiments is shown in FIG. 7. The obtained results show that flagellin is effective as a radioprotectant from 13 Gy if injected 1-4 h before treatment.

In order to further estimate the dependence of radioprotective activity of flagellin on the time of treatment, mice were injected at several time points relative to the moment of gamma-irradiation. Experiments were performed essentially as explained above, using intraperitoneal injection of 5 μg/mouse (0.2 mg/kg) of full-length flagellin or, for control mice, 5 μg/mouse (0.2 mg/kg) of bacterial RNA polymerase. The experiments were performed using the NIH-Swiss mouse strain. The results show that flagellin provides ˜90% survival after 13 Gy irradiation if injected at 1 or 2 hours before treatment (FIG. 7). Only −1 h graph is shown for clarity, however, both timepoints (−1 and −2 h) provide similar degree and dynamics of survival. The 4 h timepoint shows somewhat lower protection. Flagellin injected 24 hours before irradiation had no protective effect against 13 Gy induced death.

Interestingly, administration of flagellin 24 hours before 10 Gy gamma-irradiation provided 100% protection. While 13 Gy irradiation in mice primarily induces death from GI syndrome, 10 Gy-induced death is mostly mediated by hematopoietic syndrome. Accordingly, such long-term protection from 10 Gy irradiation may be mediated by enhanced proliferation or survival of hematopoietic stem cell induced by flagellin and/or long-living secondary cytokines

Example 5

Determination of LD50/30, LD50/7 and DMF for Flagellin

We next obtained an estimate of radiation dose-dependent protection for flagellin. As shown above (FIG. 7), treatment with flagellin was sufficient for 100% protection against 10 Gy gamma-irradiation (this dose causes death from hematopoietic syndrome) and 90% 30-day survival at 13 Gy (both hematopoietic and GI syndromes). Experiments were performed as described above, using flagellin 5 μg/mouse (0.2 mg/kg), intraperitoneally injected 1 h before irradiation.

At 15 Gy, however, 100% 7-day survival was followed by delayed death after 13 days (0% 30-day survival), while control group had fully succumbed to GI syndrome by day 7 (FIG. 8). The kinetics of the flagellin-treated group mortality after 15 Gy irradiation is reminiscent of such of control group at 10 Gy, hinting at death caused by hematopoietic syndrome. The results provide an estimate of flagellin LD50/30 around 13.5-14 Gy and DMF30 of about 1.75-1.8. This degree of radioprotection is significantly higher than any reported for a natural compound.

Example 6

Rational Design and Cloning of Flagellin Fragments

Salmonella flagellin, encoded by the FliC gene (SEQ ID NO: 2), is a strong activator of pro-survival NF-κB pathway. This is the most likely mechanism of its radioprotective action. Previous studies have shown that binding of flagellin to Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) on the cell surface is a necessary step that triggers activation of NF-κB. The domain structure of Salmonella flagellin is described in sufficient detail in the literature (FIG. 9). Moreover, previous structural studies of flagellin-TLR5 complex (FIG. 10) provide the ability to distinguish between domains that are essential or dispensable for binding and thus NF-κB activation. Protein minimization may provide reduced immune response after repeated administration of flagellin-related polypeptides. This may be achieved, in part, due to lower immunogenicity of low molecular weight proteins and smaller number of immunogenic epitopes available.

The domains needed for TLR5 binding may be located exclusively in the evolutionary conserved N- and C-terminal domains of bacterial flagellins. The hypervariable domain (amino acids 178-402) does not come into close contact with TLR5. As was demonstrated previously, replacement of this domain with a flexible linker peptide did not disrupt binding to TLR5. In addition, N-terminal and C-terminal coiled-coil polymerization domains (amino acids 1-55, 456-505) do not bind to TLR5 and likely are dispensable (see modified N and C termini B and B′, respectively, as shown herein). Also, another fragment N-terminus lacking all domains but major N-terminal α-helix that actually binds TLR5 (amino acids 56-100) may be sufficient for binding.

Accordingly, three types of N-termini (A, B, C) and two types of C-termini (A′,B′), connected with a flexible linker (SEQ ID NOS: 3 and 4) taken from pGEX-KG cloning vector (SEQ ID NOS: 5 and 6) were combined into expression constructs to produce several possible flagellin fragments (Table 1). In addition, constructs representing separate N-termini (A, B, C) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-fusions of C-termini (GST-A′, GST-B′) were prepared. All constructs were cloned in the pRSETb bacterial expression vector and 6×His-tagged proteins were produced and purified for further experiments (FIG. 11).

TABLE 1
NameStructureDNAProtein
AA′(1-177)-Linker-(402-505)SEQ ID NO: 7SEQ ID NO: 8
AB′(1-177)-Linker-(402-450)SEQ ID NO: 9SEQ ID NO: 10
BA′(56-177)-Linker-(402-505)SEQ ID NO: 11SEQ ID NO: 12
BB′(56-177)-Linker-(402-450)SEQ ID NO: 13SEQ ID NO: 14
CA′(56-100)-Linker-(402-505)SEQ ID NO: 15SEQ ID NO: 16
CB′(56-100)-Linker-(402-450)SEQ ID NO: 17SEQ ID NO: 18
A(1-177)SEQ ID NO: 19SEQ ID NO: 20
B(56-177)SEQ ID NO: 21SEQ ID NO: 22
C(56-100)SEQ ID NO: 23SEQ ID NO: 24
GST-GST-Linker-(402-505)SEQ ID NO: 25SEQ ID NO: 26
A′
GST-GST-Linker-(402-450)SEQ ID NO: 27SEQ ID NO: 28
B′

Example 7

Selection of Biologically Active Flagellin Fragments

Since the radioprotective activities of flagellin appear to be NF-κB dependent, we tested the ability of the flagellin fragments to induce NF-κB translocation to the nucleus and binding to its target sites in DNA. This was tested by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) using nuclear extracts from flagellin- and fragment-treated A549 lung cancer cells and labeled synthetic NF-κB binding kB oligonucleotide.

Only flagellin itself and fragments AA′, AB′, and BA′ were capable of inducing NF-κB translocation (FIG. 12). The level of translocation is comparable for flagellin and fragments AA′, AB′, and BA′. The hypervariable domain does not appear to be necessary for NF-κB translocation, while the presence of at least one polymerization domain, N- or C-terminal, is required. Mixtures of the N- and C-terminal fragments (A+A′, A+B′) were inactive.

While translocation of NF-κB to the nucleus is a crucial step in induction of NF-κB-regulated inhibitors of apoptosis, it is not sufficient in itself. To directly test the ability of selected fragments to induce expression of NF-κB-regulated genes, we performed reporter assay experiments. Flagellin and the AA′, BB′, A′ and B′ fragments were used for treatment of H116 human colon cancer cells carrying luciferase gene under a NF-κB-responsive promoter. The reporter construct contained three NF-κB-binding sites from the E-selectin promoter combined with a Hsp70 minimal promoter that is routinely used for the detection of NF-κB status of cells. Luciferase activity was measured in cell lysates six hours after addition of flagellin or its truncated fragments into the medium. TNF was used as positive control. The results of a representative experiment are shown in FIG. 13 and indicates that flagellin and fragment AA′ are capable of NF-κB activation, whereas fragments BB′, GST-A′ and GST-B′ are not.

Example 8

Further Optimization of Flagellin Fragments

We further minimized the AA′ flagellin fragment by producing additional fragments through stepwise removal of peptide fragments from its N-terminal half (Table 2). Electrophoretic mobility shift assays were performed as described above using nuclear extracts from flagellin- and fragment-treated HT29 human colon cancer cells and labeled synthetic NF-κB binding κB oligonucleotide. NF-κB binding activity in HT29 cells was stimulated with TNFα (10 ng/ml), or flagellin fragments (1 mg/ml) for 15 min. As shown in FIG. 14, fragments AA′n1-170, AA′n54-170, AA′n1-163 and AA′n54-163 each induce NF-κB translocation, with levels comparable to that of flagellin for AA′n1-170, AA′n54-170 and AA′n1-163.

TABLE 2
NameStructureDNAProtein
AA′n54-177(54-177)-Linker-SEQ ID NO: 11SEQ ID NO: 12
(402-505)
AA′n1-170(1-170)-Linker-SEQ ID NO: 29SEQ ID NO: 30
(402-505)
AA′n54-170(54-170)-Linker-SEQ ID NO: 31SEQ ID NO: 32
(402-505)
AA′n1-163(1-163)-Linker-SEQ ID NO: 33SEQ ID NO: 34
(402-505)
AA′n54-163(54-163)-Linker-SEQ ID NO: 35SEQ ID NO: 36
(402-505)

In order to study the ability of the AA′ fragments to directly activate NF-κB-regulated transcription, we performed reporter assay experiments as described above for a wide range of concentrations of flagellin, original AA′ and AA′-derived fragments. As shown above, AA′ and AA′n1-170 induce NF-κB-regulated transcription at the level comparable to such of flagellin over the studied range of concentrations (FIG. 15, left). AA′ and AA′n1-170 are more active than flagellin in the very low concentration range (FIG. 15, right), possibly due to their reduced molecular weight. The results with fragment AA′n1-170 show that AA′-derived flagellin fragments may be made with a portion of the N-terminal domain removed without significant loss of activity and may be used as effective radioprotectors.

The above experiments (EMSA and reporter activation assay) were repeated with flagellin and AA′ fragments subjected to 30 minutes boiling and renaturation before being applied to cells. The results were comparable to those obtained without boiling (data not shown). This shows that the observed differences in flagellin fragment activity may not be caused by changes in protein stability.

Example 9

In Vivo Comparison of Radioprotective Properties of Flagellin and Flagellin Fragments

As shown above, full-length flagellin provides protection from both hematopoietic and gastrointestinal syndromes. The radioprotective potential of flagellin fragments was similarly tested after gamma-irradiation with 11 Gy (dose that induces hematopoietic syndrome-associated mortality in mice) or 14 Gy (dose that causes death from GI syndrome). Mice (10 animals per group) were injected subcutaneously with 5.0 μg/mouse (0.2 mg/kg) of flagellin or its fragments, AA′ or BB′, and gamma-irradiated 1 hour later.

The degree of radioprotection displayed by the AA′ fragment is at least comparable to full-length flagellin (FIG. 16). Both the AN fragment and full-length flagellin showed 100% 30-day survival for mice irradiated with 11 Gy and 14 Gy. Meanwhile, 0% of mice injected with the BB′ fragment survived to 30 days. This is expected since the BB′ fragment is incapable of inducing NF-κB in vitro. These results show that significant reduction in the size of flagellin (about 40% removed) may be achieved without a decrease in the degree of radioprotection. In addition, the ability to predict radioprotective potential from results of in vitro NF-κB activation is confirmed.

Example 10

Identification of Cellular Targets of Flagellin-Mediated Radioprotection

Tissue samples of intestinal mucosa were taken 5 days after 14 Gy irradiation from mice pretreated with flagellin and control mice. Control animals were treated with 5.0 μg/mouse (0.2 mg/kg) bacterial RNA-polymerase. Pathomorphological analysis of the small intestine reveals reduction of the size of crypts and villi and a number of the cells with condensed apoptotic nuclei in control mouse and near-normal morphology in the treated mouse (data not shown). Tissue samples (small intestine and skin from the back) were also obtained from mice treated with the AA′ fragment. The results shown in FIG. 17 are areas of typical morphology observed over a set of at least 3 mice. After treatment with flagellin and the AA′ fragment, mice demonstrated near-normal intestinal morphology with preservation of the villi/crypt structure (FIG. 17A).

In addition to purely histological observation of cell death and survival, we performed more specialized tests of apoptotic cell death in intestinal tissue using a TUNEL assay, which detects apoptosis-associated DNA fragmentation. These experiments allowed us to define with a high degree of probability cellular populations that are depleted by radiation and rescued by flagellin fragment treatment. The earliest radiation-induced alterations detectable in the small intestine after treatment with IR is apoptosis occurring in vascular endothelial cells of villi, which is seen as early as 5 hours post treatment (FIG. 17B). This apoptosis, which is believed to be critical for radiosensitivity of the small intestine, was almost completely blocked in the mice pretreated with the AN fragment (FIG. 17B, bottom panel). Degeneration of villi and crypts, occurring within the next several days post treatment and greatly suppressed in AA′ fragment-treated animals, comes as a consequence of injury of blood vessels. Effective protection of endothelial cells of the small intestine by the flagellin fragment may be due to expression of TLR5 in these cells.

Remarkably, the AA′ fragment and flagellin also prevented the radiation-induced disappearance of sebaceous glands located at the base of skin hair follicles (FIG. 27C). These results further confirm the suitability of AA′ fragment for radioprotection and for the prevention of radiation-induced hair loss.

Example 11

Protection from Supralethal Radiation

In order to explore the limits of radioprotection provided by the AA′ fragment, we irradiated mice with 17 Gy and 20 Gy single doses of total body gamma-radiation. The experiment was performed as described above using inactive flagellin fragment (CB) as a negative control.

As expected, we observed a 100% mortality in both groups at 17 and 20 Gy (FIG. 18). However, death was significantly delayed in both cases by administration of the AA′ fragment. Most remarkably, the kinetics of death at 17 Gy in control mice conform to GI syndrome (6-7 day mortality), while death of mice treated with the AA′ fragment appear to be mediated by hematopoietic syndrome (10-15 day mortality). This shows that flagellin and flagellin fragments may protect against the GI syndrome at doses as high as 17 Gy. In addition, this shows that even further radioprotection may be obtained by flagellin and flagellin fragments combined with hematopoietic radioprotectors.

Example 12

Immunogenicity and Repetitive Administration Studies

Overall immunogenicity of a protein may determines its suitability for repeated use. Antibodies generated by immune system are capable of reducing the therapeutic activity of the protein and also may induce anaphylactic reaction upon second exposure if IgE antibodies are produced against the protein. Thus, any reduction in the amount and variety of antibodies compared to full-length flagellin is an improvement. Accordingly, after repeated introduction of flagellin or its fragments we monitored; a) efficiency of radioprotection afforded at second exposure; b) local and general allergic reactions; and c) antibody titer.

We tested the ability of AA′ to protect mice that were exposed to it. A group of 20 NIH-Swiss mice were subcutaneously injected with 5 μg/mouse (0.2 mg/kg) of AA′. A second injection of a equal dose of AA′ was administered after 21 (10 mice) and 28 days (another 10 mice), with the time elapsed being sufficient for formation of antibodies. The second injection of AA′ was followed by 13 Gy of whole-body gamma irradiation (1 h post-injection). 100% 30-day survival was observed in both groups, as it was observed with mice that had no previous exposure to AA′ (data not shown). These results show that activity of AA′ is not diminished over long-term repeated administration and reaffirm its potential for multiple-use applications. Also, no local allergic reaction or anaphylaxis was observed either with flagellin or AA′.

We also performed an ELISA determination of antibody titers in order to quantify the effect that AA′ has on the immune status of the organism. 96-well plates were coated with flagellin or AA′, 20 mg/ml, 50 ml/well, and incubated overnight at +4° C. Blood serum samples collected from mice were added to the wells in several dilutions and incubated overnight followed by 6 hrs reaction with secondary goat anti-mouse IgG HPO-conjugate antibodies. Measurements were performed using a spectrophotometer with a 414 nm filter. The antibody titers determined for individual mice and average titers are shown in FIG. 19 and FIG. 20.

AA′ induces far lower antibody levels in mice (FIG. 19), on the order of 0.8 mg/ml serum at 21 day and about 10% more at 28 days. Flagellin, on another hand (FIG. 20), induces a high titer of antibodies, around 20 mg/ml, at both 21 and 28 days. Overall, this shows that removal of the hypervariable domain sharply reduces the immunogenicity of AA′ compared to the original protein (approximately 25×). FIG. 19 also shows that the majority of AA′-specific antibodies are capable of recognizing flagellin. This confirms that the rational design of AA′ does not produce a sizable number of new immunogenic epitopes while removing >95% of the immunogenicity of the original protein.

Example 13

Acute Toxicity Studies of Flagellin and AA′

The lethal dose of Salmonella flagellin is between 1 mg/kg (systemic inflammation) and 10 mg/kg (100% lethality). We subcutaneously administered increasing doses of AA′ to mice (4 mice per dose group) at 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 8 mg/kg. Due to the lower (˜60%) molecular weight, 8 mg/kg of AA′ correspond to a molar-equivalent dose of 13.3 mg/kg of flagellin. Several days after administration at all doses, no visible detrimental effects were observed, such as mortality, morbidity or signs of systemic inflammation such as reduced activity and fever. This shows that the pro-inflammatory effect of AA′ is negligible compared to full-length flagellin, especially considering that AA′ provides an efficient radioprotection at 0.2 mg/kg. The reduced toxicity may be sue to the absence of the central pro-inflammatory domain in the AA′ fragment.

Example 14

Protection from Fractioned Irradiation by AA′

Repetitive irradiation within a short period of time may be common, for example, in space radiation events and in clinical radiotherapy regimens. We tested the ability of the AA′ flagellin fragment to protect mice from sub-lethal (4 treatments of 3 Gy) and 100% lethal (4 treatments of 4 Gy) regimens of fractionated gamma-irradiation. Fragment AA′ or saline buffer was given to NIH-Swiss female mice before every irradiation (once a day for 4 days). AA′ was administered as described above for single-dose irradiation (5 μg/mouse, given subcutaneously 1 h before irradiation).

The results in FIG. 21 show that AA′ provides significant protection against repetitive doses of radiation received within a short timeframe. The cumulative dose of fractionated radiation that is still compatible with 100% 30-day survival after AA′ treatment is comparable to such obtained in single-dose irradiation scenarios.

Example 15

AA′ Protects Normal Tissues without Compromising the Anti-Tumor Therapeutic Effect of Radiation

The ultimate test of a potential radioprotective agent in cancer treatment is tumor selectivity, its ability to protect normal tissues while providing no or little protection to the tumor. We injected 10 NIH-Swiss mice subcutaneously, in both flanks (20 tumors total), with 2×106 cells of syngeneic sarcoma cell line model (NIH3T3-derived and spontaneously transformed sarcoma with p53 inactivated by dominant negative inhibitor GSE56). When tumors reached the size of 5-7 mm in diameter (day 5), the mice were injected subcutaneously with 0.2 mg/kg of AA′ or saline vehicle and irradiated 1 hours later with 4 Gy of total-body γ-irradiation (3×4.3 Gy=12.9 Gy total dose). Injections and irradiations were done at days 5, 6 and 7.

As the results show in FIG. 11, AA′ enhanced the radiation-induced shrinkage of tumors. By day 18, all the irradiated tumor-bearing mice died from acute radiation toxicity whereas 100% of mice that obtained both radiotherapy and AA′ were both cured and survived the treatment. Similar result was obtained with another syngeneic tumor model—B16 melanoma cells (FIG. 11, right panel). Surprisingly, even in unirradiated mice, AA′ administration caused a decrease in the growth rate of tumors. This may be due to AN-induced immunostimulating, which is known to be caused by other ligands of Toll-like receptors. These results indicate that AA′ increases the tolerance of mice to radiation with no effect on the radiosensitivity of two types of tumors, thus opening the possibility of combining radiotherapy with AA′ to improve treatment outcome.

Example 16

Radioprotective Mechanisms of AA′ and LPS are Different

Lipopolysaccharide of gram-negative bacteria (LPS) is a ligand of another Toll-like receptor, TLR4. LPS is a strong inducer of NF-κB and a subsequent cascade of cytokines LPS is known as a radioprotective compound, but its high toxicity makes its use unfeasible (radioprotective dose is very close to the lethal dose). One of the major mechanisms underlying the radioprotection by LPS is the activation of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) that, in turn, drives the synthesis of GI-protective prostaglandins. The possibility that radioprotection by TLR5 also relies on COX-2 activity was tested by administering s.c. LPS (2 mg/kg), AA′ (0.2 mg/kg′) or vehicle 1 hr before irradiation of NIH-Swiss mice in combination with i.p injection of 1 mg/kg of NS398, a synthetic COX-2 inhibitor, or the corresponding vehicle. The mice were then treated with 13 Gy of total-body γ-irradiation. NS398 completely abolished LPS-mediated radioprotection but not the radioprotection of AA′ (FIG. 12). This result shows that AN does not significantly rely on COX-2 for its activity and induces radioprotection by a mechanism different from the mechanism of LPS-mediated protection.

Example 17

AA′ Protects Multiple Mouse Strains

We have extensively confirmed that AA′ protects NIH-Swiss and ICR mice from radiation. To confirm that the radioprotection activity of AA′ is not confined to a few mouse strains, several additional strains of mice with dissimilar origins were tested for protection by AA′: 129/Sv, DBA/2 (relatively radioresistant), Balb/c (relatively radiosensitive) and Balb/c x DBA/2 F1 hybrid CD2F1. Experimental groups were injected with 0.2 mg/kg AA′ 30 minutes before irradiation, while control groups were injected with vehicle (PBS).

All groups of mice (8-10 mice each, 8-12 week old females) were exposed to 10 Gy of single-dose, whole-body gamma-irradiation. Survival of mice at days 10 and 30 is shown. The results are shown in FIG. 27 as a cone graph. At 10 days, only Balb/c mice display mortality, which is drastically reduced by AA′ administration (0% vs. 100% survival). At day 30, all tested strains display improved survival (0-25% vs. 50-100%) after AA′ administration.

Example 18

Pharmacokinetics of AA′

Pharmacokinetic parameters (effective concentration and the duration of drug the presence in the organism) may be important for route, dose and time of drug administration. The pharmacokinetics of CBLB502 (AA′) were thus tested for four common routes of injection: intravenous (i.v.), subcutaneous (s.c.), intraperitoneal (i.p.) or intramuscular (i.m.). A radioprotective dose of CBLB502 (AA′), 0.2 mg/kg, was injected in 12-15 week old ICR mice and plasma samples were collected at the specified times after injection (at least 3 mice/point). The levels of CBLB502 in plasma were measured by sandwich ELISA using known concentrations of CBLB502 spiked in the control ICR plasma for calibration. The results are shown in FIG. 28 and FIG. 29.

The results show that the highest levels and longest persistence of CBLB502 in plasma are provided by intramuscular or intraperitoneal injection. After intramuscular injection, significant (>5 ng/ml) levels of CBLB502 are observed in mouse plasma >3 hours. Intravenous injection leads to a more rapid disappearance of CBLB502 from the bloodstream.

Example 19

Influence of AA′ on Gamma-Irradiation Induced Cell Death and Growth Inhibition in A549 Cells

The A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cell line is reported to respond to flagellin by activation of NF-κB DNA-binding activity (Tallant T., et. al., BMC Microbiol. 2004 Aug. 23; 4:33). We decided to check whether this activation translates in the protection of cells from γ-IR in cell growth inhibition assay.

Tumor cells were seeded in wells of three 96-well plates in 3 different densities (0.5×104, 1×104 and 2×104 cells/well, producing single-cell, spare or semi-contact layer). After cells had attached to plastic, CBLB502 (2 μg/ml) was added to the wells of non-irradiated cells, or 15 min prior to 7 Gy or 10 Gy of gamma-irradiation. Control wells received equal volume of vehicle (PBS). All points were done in quadruplicate. 72 hours after irradiation, medium was replaced with methylene blue in 50%-methanol and the relative numbers of viable cells in wells were measured using spectrophotometer at 650 nm. The results are shown in FIG. 30. This experiment was also repeated with fixed dose of 1×104 A549 cells/well, CBLB502 was added 1 hour before 5, 10 or 15 Gy of gamma-irradiation (data not shown). We observed a similar effect of flagellin in all tested experiment conditions.

Gamma-irradiation induced a dose-dependent reduction in the number of A549 cells plated at all three densities (up to 60% as compared to non-irradiated control wells). CBLB502 had no or slight effect on cell numbers, with or without gamma-irradiation. This indicates that tumor cells are not significantly protected by CBLB502 (AA′) from radiation. This effect may be due to tumor cells having constitutively active NF-κB pathway or some other mechanism.

Example 20

Influence of AA′ on Gamma-Irradiation Induced Cell Death and Growth Inhibition in Multiple Cell Lines

Based on the results using A549 cells, several additional tumor cell lines (human melanoma Mel-7 and Mel-29, colon cancer HCT116, lung cancer HT1080), immortalized kidney epithelial cells (NKE) and normal mouse aortal endothelial cells (MAEC)) were tested in growth inhibition assay after 10 and 15 Gy of gamma-irradiation, as compared with intact control, with or without pretreatment with CBLB502. Cells were seeded in 96-well plates night before the treatments. CBLB502 (2 μg/ml) was added to the wells 4 hrs, 1 hr or 10 min before irradiation (all points were done in quadruplicate). 48 hours later, methylene blue staining was performed to determine the relative amount of the viable cells in the wells. All three time-points had shown the same effect (results for CBLB502 added 1 hr before irradiation are shown in FIG. 31). The percent of growth inhibition was calculated from the OD650 in control non-irradiated wells, taken as 0% inhibition.

Both human melanoma cell lines and MAEC cells were rather resistant to gamma-irradiation and showed only slight (<20%) growth inhibition after both 10 and 15 Gy comparing with intact cells (0 Gy). NKE, HT1080 and HCT116 cells showed up to 40% of growth inhibition after gamma-irradiation. Remarkably, CBLB502 had no or only a slight inhibitory effect on tumor cell growth, irradiated or not. The experiment was repeated twice. In addition, similar results were obtained on tested lung adenocarcinoma H1299 and prostate cancer CWR22 (data not shown). This indicates that there is no significant protection provided by CBLB502 to the tumor cell lines against radiation-induced cell death.

Example 21

Influence of Irradiation and AA′ on BrdU Incorporation in Small Intestinal Crypts

Besides a direct inhibition of apoptosis, temporary halt of proliferation followed by repair may be an alternative mechanism of radioprotection, and has been described for other radioprotectors such as TGF-133 (Booth D., et. al., Int J Cancer. 2000 Apr. 1; 86(1):53-9). Accordingly, we decided to examine the possible influence of CBLB502 (AA′) on the proliferative activity of the cells in small intestine (with and without irradiation) during the first hours after its administration (FIG. 32). CBLB502 or PBS was injected i.p. in mice, followed after 30 min by 15 Gy irradiation (if used). 2 hr after injection (1.5 hr after irradiation if it was applied), BrdU was injected intraperitoneally. Samples of small intestine were obtained after additional 1.5 hours.

Without irradiation, BrdU was incorporated at high levels in the nuclei of cells in the intestinal crypts of untreated NIH-Swiss mice (FIG. 32, top left), whereas DNA synthesis (as measured by BrdU incorporation) was nearly undetectable in the crypts of CBLB502-treated mice (FIG. 32, top right). In vehicle-treated irradiated mice, the incorporation of BrdU was lower than in control mice. Importantly, the level of BrdU incorporation was strongly reduced by CBLB502, possibly indicating quick (S phase) growth arrest, as opposed to later (G2 phase) irradiation-induced growth arrest. Therefore, cytostatic activity of CBLB502 or flagellin may be an additional mechanism of radioprotection of small intestine.

Example 22

Duration of AA′-Mediated Growth Arrest and Reduced BrdU Incorporation

We next determined the duration of the CBLB502-induced growth arrest in small intestine. CBLB502 or PBS was injected i.p. in mice, BrdU was injected 1 or 4 hours later and samples of small intestine were obtained after additional 1.5 hours from several mice (samples from three mice are shown) (FIG. 33).

Incorporation of BrdU in intestine was reduced as compared to control if BrdU was injected after 1 hour (as it was shown in the previous experiment where BrdU was injected after 2 hr). NIH-Swiss, ICR and Balb/c mice displayed a similar degree of CBLB502-mediated block of BrdU incorporation (Balb/c samples are shown in FIG. 33). If BrdU was injected 4 hr after injection of CBLB502, the levels of incorporation/DNA synthesis were even higher than in control. This indicates that inhibition of intestinal stem cell proliferation by CBLB502 may be temporary and may be quickly resolved (by 4 hours), followed by a period of increased proliferation (possibly due to the partial synchronization of cells).

Example 23

Influence of AA′ on BrdU Incorporation in Colonic Crypts

The colon is much less radiosensitive than small intestine. To further examine the relationship between reduced proliferation in the small intestine and radioprotection, we determined the effect of CBLB502 on BrdU incorporation in the colon. CBLB502 or PBS was injected i.p. in mice, BrdU was injected 1 hour later and samples of small intestine were obtained after additional 1.5 hours (FIG. 34).

Unlike in the small intestine, CBLB502 has no effect on BrdU incorporation in colon. This is surprising since TLR5 is plentiful in both organs. The difference in effects may be due to the higher amount of symbiotic bacteria in the colon, which may mask the effect of additional TLR5 signaling induced by CBLB502.

Example 24

Comparison of Radioprotective Potential by Route of Administration

We next tested radioprotection provided by FliC flagellin administered via several routes: intravenous (i.v.), intraperitoneal (i.p.), intramuscular (i.m.), subcutaneous (s.c.) and gavage. For parenteral (non-gavage) routes, mice were injected with 0.2 mg/kg of FliC flagellin dissolved in PBS or vehicle, followed 1 hr later by 13 Gy irradiation. In gavage delivery experiment, 5 mice were given to swallow an increased dose (50 μg) of FliC in 50 μl of PBS 1 h before 13 Gy gamma-irradiation. Both experiments were done in 8-10 week old female NIH-Swiss mice, 5-10 mice/group.

All tested routes besides gavage afforded similar degree of protection, leading to 85-90% 30-day survival of mice (data not shown). No protection against radiation was provided by gavage delivery, which may be due to digestion of the protein by the gastrointestinal environment. In addition, flagellin receptor, TLR5, is absent on the luminal side of intestinal epithelium that is exposed to intestinal contents (Gewirtz A T., et. al., J Immunol. 2001 Aug. 15; 167(4):1882-5)

Example 25

Effect of AA′ on the Morphology of Small Intestine

Flagellin (and CBLB502) may induce NF-κB activity via binding to TLR5. Accordingly, CBLB502-mediated radioprotection may be dependent on the presence and activity of TLR5. MOLF/Ei mice are a known natural model of TLR5 deficiency (Sebastiani G., et. al., Genomics. 2000 Mar. 15; 64(3):230-40). To verify that CBLB502-mediated radioprotection is indeed TLR5-dependent, we tested the protection of small intestine from radiation by CBLB502 in MOLF/Ei and NIH-Swiss mice (FIG. 35). Both strains of mice were given 0.2 mg/kg CBLB502 (AA′) or PBS 0.5 hr before 15 Gy of gamma-irradiation. The samples of small intestine were obtained 4 days after irradiation, stained by hematoxylin-eosin and subjected to pathomorphological analysis.

In NIH-Swiss (TLR5 wild type) mice, CBLB502 pretreatment led to preservation of intestinal morphology (long villae, normal crypts) as compared to short villae and disappearance of normal crypt structure in PBS-treated mice. Meanwhile, in TLR5-deficient MOLF/Ei mice the administration of CBLB502 had no improving effect on intestinal morphology after 15 Gy of gamma-irradiation: short villae and destruction of the normal crypt structure was observed, with or without CBLB502. This indicates that the presence of TLR5 may be necessary for CBLB502-mediated radioprotection in the small intestine.

Example 26

Flagellin Derivatives

Additional flagellin variants were produced based on the domain structure shown in FIG. 36. The flagellin variants were then tested along with some of the variants discussed above for NF-κB stimulating activity (Table 3). A549 cells were left unstimulated or stimulated with TNF (10 ng/ml) as indicated or 1 μg/ml of purified flagellin or the various indicated flagellin derivatives for 45 min and whole cell extracts prepared as described in Example 7. EMSA assays were preformed and the NF-κB DNA-protein complex detected as described in Example 7.

TABLE 3
NF-κB
NameN-terminalC-terminalDNAProteinStimulation
AA′ 1-176402-505SEQ ID NO: 7SEQ ID NO: 8Yes
AB′ 1-176402-450SEQ ID NO: 9SEQ ID NO: 10Yes
BA′54-176402-505SEQ ID NO: 11SEQ ID NO: 12Yes
BB′54-176402-450SEQ ID NO: 13SEQ ID NO: 14No
CA′54-100402-505SEQ ID NO: 15SEQ ID NO: 16No
CB′54-100402-450SEQ ID NO: 17SEQ ID NO: 18No
AA′n1-170 1-170402-505SEQ ID NO: 29SEQ ID NO: 30Yes
AA′n54-17054-170402-505SEQ ID NO: 31SEQ ID NO: 32Yes
AB′n1-170 1-170402-450SEQ ID NO: 37SEQ ID NO: 38Yes
AA′n1-163 1-163402-505SEQ ID NO: 33SEQ ID NO: 34Yes
AA′n54-16354-163402-505SEQ ID NO: 35SEQ ID NO: 36Yes
AB′n1-163 1-163402-450SEQ ID NO: 39SEQ ID NO: 40Yes
AA′n1-129 1-129402-505SEQ ID NO: 41SEQ ID NO: 42Yes
AA′n54-12954-129402-505SEQ ID NO: 43SEQ ID NO: 44Yes
AB′n1-129 1-129402-450SEQ ID NO: 45SEQ ID NO: 46untested
AB′n54-12954-129402-450SEQ ID NO: 47SEQ ID NO: 48Untested
AA′n1-100 1-100402-505SEQ ID NO: 49SEQ ID NO: 50untested
AB′n1-100 1-100402-450SEQ ID NO: 51SEQ ID NO: 52untested
AA′n1-701-70402-505SEQ ID NO: 53SEQ ID NO: 54No
AB′n1-701-70402-450SEQ ID NO: 55SEQ ID NO: 56No
A 1-176SEQ ID NO: 19SEQ ID NO: 20No
B54-176SEQ ID NO: 21SEQ ID NO: 22No
C54-100SEQ ID NO: 23SEQ ID NO: 24No
GST-A′402-505SEQ ID NO: 25SEQ ID NO: 26No
GST-B′402-450SEQ ID NO: 27SEQ ID NO: 28No

The results in Table 3 indicate that flagellin variants with at least one polymerization domain (aa1-50 or aa 450-505) that linked to domains contained within the amino-terminal region (aa 1-176) and those of the carboxy terminus (aa 402-505) are capable of stimulating NF-κB and would thus be expected to be radioprotectors. Physical linkage of the recognition domains may be required for activity as domains supplied unlinked in trans fail to activate NF-κB. As an alternative to the linking of the domains in a single polypeptide, the domains may be linked using a linker, which is a molecule that is used to join two molecules. The linker may be capable of forming covalent bonds or high-affinity non-covalent bonds to both molecules. Suitable linkers are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art and include, but are not limited to, straight or branched-chain carbon linkers, heterocyclic carbon linkers, or peptide linkers. The linkers may be joined to the constituent amino acids through their side groups (e.g., through a disulfide linkage to cysteine).

The region between amino acids 163 and 176 may be required for activity when the carboxyl polymerization domain (aa 450-505) is absent. Since this region is dispensable for activity when the carboxyl polymerization domain is present it may be involved in stabilizing the derivative. The region between amino acids 70 and 129 may be important for activation and may be involved in derivative recognition. The region between amino acids 402 and 450 may also be required for activity. The domains identified above are located within three large α-helices (located within amino acids 54-129 and 402-450) and, to produce an active derivative, may need to form a ring-like structure (with or without polymerization domain).

Example 27

Dynamic of Weight Loss and Viability of Mice Treated with Cisplatinum with or without Protectan CBLB502

This example demonstrates that pretreatment with CBLB502 strongly reduces chemotherapy toxicity when administered prior to chemotherapeutic treatment. Cisplatinum treatment was used as an example of chemotherapy-associated toxicity. When injected at toxic doses, cisplatinum is known to induce myelosuppression and renal toxicity in animals, which result in weight loss and, in the case of severe adverse effects, death. Less severe or delayed weight loss and mortality can be used as indicators of the efficacy of agents capable of reducing cisplatinum-mediated toxicity. The effects of CBLB502 were tested using this rationale.

The following experiments were performed using NIH Swiss mouse females that were 12-15 weeks in age (6-10 mice/group). CBLB502 was injected subcutaneously (s.c.) 30 min. prior to injecting cisplatinum at a dose of 1 μg/mouse (0.04 mg/kg), which are the optimal conditions for protecting mammals from total body ionizing radiation. Cisplatinum in PBS solution was injected interperitoneally (i.p.) at either 10 mg/kg (maximum tolerable dose, [MTD]) or 20 mg/kg (2×MTD). Mice were monitored daily, including for weight and behavioral abnormalities, for 30 d or until death. Mice that lost more than 25% of their weight were sacrificed. The experiment was repeated three times, each time yielding similar results.

The results of a representative experiment are shown in FIG. 39. FIG. 39A shows the dynamics of weight loss of mice that received 2×MTD cisplatinum (20 mg/kg), pretreated with either CBLB502 or PBS (as indicated). While the majority of mice in the control group died or experienced >25% weight loss by day 10, 100% of animals that received CBLB502 30 min before being injected with cisplatinum survived, and never lost more than 20% of their weight. FIG. 39B shows the dynamics of the deaths of animals that received 20 mg/kg cisplatinum, with or without CBLB502. FIG. 39C shows the results of experimental groups treated as described for FIG. 39C, but which received 10 mg/kg cisplatinum. Again, the CBLB502-treated group differed substantially from the control group by not losing weight in response to cisplatinum treatment. No deaths were observed among mice in these groups. FIG. 39D, however, shows that there were obvious behavioral changes exhibited in mice that received cisplatinum with PBS (limited mobility as a sign of morbidity) compared to animals that received a similar dose of cisplatinum, but were pretreated with a single injection of CBLB502 (active animals).

FIG. 40 shows the weight loss effects in NIH Swiss mice of cisplatinum alone at a dose of 10 mg/kg (n=11) compared with the same dose of cisplatinum when 0.04 mg/kg of CBLB502 is injected 30 min prior to the cisplatinum (n=11). While cisplatinum-only treated mice showed almost a mean 30% loss in body weight after two weeks, the mice treated with CBLB502 prior to cisplatinum treatment never exhibited a mean weight loss greater than about 15% on any given day. The CBLB502-treated mice significantly less weight than the cisplatinum-only treated mice on Days 7, 10 and 13.

Furthermore, FIG. 41 shows that while no mice out of 11 treated with cisplatinum alone survived past Day 13, only one mouse out of eleven treated with CBLB502 beforehand died (at Day 13). All of the remaining ten mice survived to at least Day 30. The difference in survival rate between groups was statistically significant from Day 10 to 30. This result indicates that CBLB502 significantly increases the survival rate of mice treated with cisplatinum.

FIG. 42 shows that CBLB502 can also mitigate cisplatinum-induced weight loss in FVB mice. As for the NIH Swiss mice, FVB mice were treated with 10 mg/kg, i.p. cisplatinum alone (n=3) or with CBLB502 at 0.04 mg/kg, s.c. 30 min prior to receiving cisplatinum (n=3). CBLB502-treated mice showed lower mean weight loss compared to mice treated with cisplatinum alone. Thus, the protective effect of CBLB502 against cisplatinum toxicity is not limited to only one mouse strain.

FIG. 43 shows that renal toxicity caused by cisplatinum is also reduced by CBLB502. Blood urea levels in mice treated with cisplatin (20 mg/kg, i.p.) (n=3) were compared with mice injected with CLBL502 (0.04 mg/kg, s.c.) (n=3) 30 min prior to cisplatinum treatment, to mice treated with CLBL502 alone (n=3), and to untreated mice (n=3). Urea was detected in mouse blood serum at Day 4 post-treatment using a QuantiChrom Urea Assay Kit (BioAssay Systems). There was very little difference in mean blood urea levels between CLBL502-only and untreated mice. Both groups of mice showed a mean OD 490 of less than 0.50. On the other hand, cisplatinum-only treated mice exhibited a mean OD 490 of over 1.00. Strikingly, treating mice with CLBL502 prior to cisplatinum treatment resulted in a mean OD 490 that was very similar to mean levels in CBLB502-only and untreated mice. These results indicate that renal toxicity of cisplatinum is completely suppressed by treating mice with CLBL502.

These experiments show that administering CBLB502 prior to cisplatinum treatment strongly reduces the toxicity of this chemotherapeutic drug, as obviated by the less severe weight loss, and reduced lethality and renal toxicity in CBLB502-treated mice. Although this result was achieved by using one representative of a large group of genotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs (including cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, camptothecin, methotrexate, melphalan, taxanes, etc.), indicates that CBLB502 can be used more widely as an agent to reduce the adverse effects and toxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs.