Many cancer research efforts focus on exploiting genetic-level features that may be targeted for therapy. Tissue-level features of the tumour microenvironment also represent useful therapeutic targets. Here we investigate the presence of low oxygen tension and sensitivity to NOS inhibition of tumour vasculature as potential tumour-specific features that may be targeted by hypoxic cytotoxins, a class of therapeutics currently under investigation. We have previously demonstrated that tirapazamine (TPZ) mediates central vascular dysfunction in tumours. TPZ is a hypoxic cytotoxin that is also a competitive inhibitor of NOS. Here we further investigated the vascular-targeting activity of TPZ by combining it with NOS inhibitor L-NNA, or with low oxygen content gas breathing. Tumours were analyzed via multiplex immunohistochemical staining that revealed irreversible loss of perfusion and enhanced tumour cell death when TPZ was combined with either low oxygen or a NOS inhibitor. Tumour growth rate was reduced by TPZ + NOS inhibition, and tumours previously resistant to TPZ-mediated vascular dysfunction were sensitized by low oxygen breathing. Additional mapping analysis suggests that tumours with reduced vascular-associated stroma may have greater sensitivity to these effects. These results indicate that poorly oxygenated tumour vessels, also being abnormally organized and with inadequate smooth muscle, may be successfully targeted for significant anti-cancer effects by inhibition of NOS and hypoxia-activated prodrug toxicity. This strategy illustrates a novel use of hypoxia-activated cytotoxic prodrugs as vascular targeting agents, and also represents a novel mechanism for targeting tumour vessels.
Pediatric palliative care (PPC) specialists recognize spiritual care as integral to the services offered to seriously ill children and their families. Little is known about how PPC programs deliver spiritual care.
To date, the field of health care chaplaincy has had little information about how pediatric palliative care (PPC) programs meet the spiritual needs of patients and families. We conducted a qualitative study consisting of surveys of 28 well-established PPC programs in the United States followed by interviews with medical directors and professional chaplains in 8 randomly selected programs among those surveyed. In this report, we describe the PPC chaplain activities, evidence regarding chaplain integration with the PPC team, and physician and chaplain perspectives on the chaplains contributions. Chaplains described their work in terms of processes such as presence, while physicians emphasized outcomes of chaplains care such as improved communication. Learning to translate what they do into the language of outcomes will help chaplains improve health care colleagues understanding of chaplains contributions to care for PPC patients and their families. In addition, future research should describe the spiritual needs and resources of PPC patients and families and examine the contribution chaplains make to improved outcomes for families and children facing life-limiting illnesses.
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Journal of Visualized Experiments
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