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The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences is the academic department of surgery at the University of Oxford, and hosts a multidisciplinary team of senior clinical academic surgeons, senior scientists, junior clinicians and scientists in training.
BACKGROUND: Trauma is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. There is a need for development and provision of efficient paediatric trauma services based on adequate information and funding which are lacking in low- and middle-income countries. AIMS: This study was carried out to assess the scale of the problem, identify the most common causes of trauma in Pan African Paediatric Surgical Association (PAPSA) zone and to define the limiting factors for provision of the necessary services required to reduce the potential mortality and disability. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected through an electronic form sent out in PAPSA platform. Members were requested to provide prospective data on all paediatric major trauma admitted to or seen at their health facilities between the beginning of April 2019 and the end of June 2020. Hospital location, child's age, gender, type of injury, mechanism of injury, severity, initial management, method of transport, time to arrive to hospital, availability of surgical specialities, length of hospital stay and injury outcome were analysed. RESULTS: There were 531 entries. The mean age was 3.53 years and median age 1.34 years. Male-to-female ratio was 2:1. The leading causes for injuries were falls 194 (36.53%) and motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) 176 (33.15%) followed by obstetrical 42 (7.9%), thermal 27 (5.1%) and domestic injuries 22 (4.1%). The most common injuries were limb fractures 181 (34.1%) and traumatic brain injury 111 (20.9%). Public and private transport were used in 313 (58.9%), while ambulance service was used in only 54 (10.1%). Distances to a health facility varied between 1 and 157 km. 70.2% of cases did not receive any primary care, while definitive care was received in 95.5% of the cases. Outcome was full recovery in 90.6% of patients, morbidity in 8.1% and a mortality rate of 1.3%. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the injuries were in the under 5-year age group. The two main causes of trauma in children in this study were the falls from height and MVCs. Long distance travels to reach health-care facilities were noticeable in this study, together with substantial lack of adequate ambulance facilities and shortage in necessary subspecialty services such as neurosurgical, orthopaedics and rehabilitation. Implementing proposed recommendations can reduce the burden.
[123I]CC1: A PARP-Targeting, Auger Electron-Emitting Radiopharmaceutical for Radionuclide Therapy of Cancer.
Poly(adenosine diphosphate ribose) polymerase (PARP) has emerged as an effective therapeutic strategy against cancer that targets the DNA damage repair enzyme. PARP-targeting compounds radiolabeled with an Auger electron-emitting radionuclide can be trapped close to damaged DNA in tumor tissue, where high ionizing potential and short range lead Auger electrons to kill cancer cells through the creation of complex DNA damage, with minimal damage to surrounding normal tissue. Here, we report on [123I]CC1, an 123I-labeled PARP inhibitor for radioligand therapy of cancer. Methods: Copper-mediated 123I iododeboronation of a boronic pinacol ester precursor afforded [123I]CC1. The level and specificity of cell uptake and the therapeutic efficacy of [123I]CC1 were determined in human breast carcinoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and glioblastoma cells. Tumor uptake and tumor growth inhibition of [123I]CC1 were assessed in mice bearing human cancer xenografts (MDA-MB-231, PSN1, and U87MG). Results: In vitro and in vivo studies showed selective uptake of [123I]CC1 in all models. Significantly reduced clonogenicity, a proxy for tumor growth inhibition by ionizing radiation in vivo, was observed in vitro after treatment with as little as 10 Bq [123I]CC1. Biodistribution at 1 h after intravenous administration showed PSN1 tumor xenograft uptake of 0.9 ± 0.06 percentage injected dose per gram of tissue. Intravenous administration of a relatively low amount of [123I]CC1 (3 MBq) was able to significantly inhibit PSN1 xenograft tumor growth but was less effective in xenografts that expressed less PARP. [123I]CC1 did not cause significant toxicity to normal tissues. Conclusion: Taken together, these results show the potential of [123I]CC1 as a radioligand therapy for PARP-expressing cancers.
Molecular radionuclide therapy (MRT) is an effective treatment for both localised and disseminated tumours. Biomarkers can be used to identify potential subtypes of tumours that are known to respond better to standard MRT protocols. These enrolment-based biomarkers can further be used to develop dose-response relationships using image-based dosimetry within these defined subtypes. However, the biological identity of the cancers treated with MRT are commonly not well-defined, particularly for neuroendocrine neoplasms. The biological heterogeneity of such cancers has hindered the establishment of dose-responses and minimum tumour dose thresholds. Biomarkers could also be used to determine normal tissue MRT dose limits and permit greater injected doses of MRT in patients. An alternative approach is to understand the repair capacity limits of tumours using radiobiology-based biomarkers within and outside patient cohorts currently treated with MRT. It is hoped that by knowing more about tumours and how they respond to MRT, biomarkers can provide needed dimensionality to image-based biodosimetry to improve MRT with optimized protocols and personalised therapies.
89Zr-PET imaging of DNA double-strand breaks for the early monitoring of response following α- and β-particle radioimmunotherapy in a mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
Rationale: The evaluation of early treatment response is critical for patient prognosis and treatment planning. When the current methods rely on invasive protocols that evaluate the expression of DNA damage markers on patient biopsy samples, we aim to evaluate a non-invasive PET imaging approach to monitor the early expression of the phosphorylated histone γH2AX in the context of pancreatic cancer targeted radionuclide therapy. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma has a poor patient prognosis due to the absence of curative treatment for patients with advanced disease. There is therefore a critical need for the fast clinical translation of new therapeutic options. In line with these observations, our group has been focusing on the development of radiotheranostic agents based on a fully human monoclonal antibody (5B1) with exceptional affinity for CA19.9, an antigen overexpressed in PDAC. Two on-going clinical trials resulted from these efforts, one with 89Zr (diagnosis) and one with 177Lu (β-particle therapy). More recently, we successfully developed and evaluated in PDAC mouse models a targeted α-therapy strategy with high clinical translation potential. We aim to expedite the clinical translation of the developed radioimmunotherapy approaches by investigating the early therapeutic response and effect of radiation therapy in a PDAC mouse model via PET imaging. Methods: Mice bearing BxPC3 tumor xenografts were treated with α- and β-particle pretargeted radioimmunotherapy (PRIT), external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), or sham-treated (vehicle). The phosphorylated histone γH2AX produced as a response to DNA double strand breaks was quantified with the PET radiotracer, [89Zr]Zr-DFO-anti-γH2AX-TAT. Results: PET imaging studies in BxPC3 PDAC mouse models demonstrated increased uptake of [89Zr]Zr-DFO-anti-γH2AX-TAT (6.29 ± 0.15 %IA/g) following β-PRIT in BxPC3 PDAC xenografts as compared to the saline control group (4.58 ± 0.76 %IA/g) and EBRT control group (5.93 ± 0.76 %IA/g). Similarly, significantly higher uptake of [89Zr]Zr-DFO-anti-γH2AX-TAT was observed in tumors of the 225Ac-PRIT and EBRT (10 Gy) cohorts (7.37 ± 1.23 and 6.80 ± 1.24 %IA/g, respectively) compared to the negative control cohort (5.08 ± 0.95 %IA/g). Ex vivo γH2AX immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence analysis correlated with in vivo89Zr-anti-γH2AX PET/CT imaging with increased γH2AX positive cell and γH2AX foci per cell in the treated cohorts. When α-PRIT resulted in prolonged overall survival of treated animals (107.5 days) as compared to β-PRIT (73.0 days), no evidence of difference in [89Zr]Zr-DFO-anti-γH2AX-TAT uptake at the tumor site was observed, highlighting that DNA damage is not the sole radiobiology paradigm and that off-targeted (bystander) effects should be considered. Conclusions: PET imaging studies with [89Zr]Zr-DFO-anti-γH2AX-TAT following α- and β-particle PRIT in a BxPC3 PDAC subcutaneous xenograft mouse model allowed the monitoring of tumor radiobiological response to treatment.
In recent years, targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) has emerged as a promising strategy for cancer treatment. In contrast to conventional radiotherapy, TRT delivers ionizing radiation to tumors in a targeted manner, reducing the dose that healthy tissues are exposed to. Existing TRT strategies include the use of 177Lu-DOTATATE, 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine, Bexxar, and Zevalin, clinically approved agents for the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors, neuroblastoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, respectively. Although promising results have been obtained with these agents, clinical evidence acquired to date suggests that only a small percentage of patients achieves complete response. Consequently, there have been attempts to improve TRT outcomes through combinations with other therapeutic agents; such strategies include administering concurrent TRT and chemotherapy, and the use of TRT with known or putative radiosensitizers such as poly(adenosine diphosphate ribose) polymerase and mammalian-target-of-rapamycin inhibitors. In addition to potentially achieving greater therapeutic effects than the respective monotherapies, these strategies may lead to lower dosages or numbers of cycles required and, in turn, reduce unwanted toxicities. As of now, several clinical trials have been conducted to assess the benefits of TRT-based combination therapies, sometimes despite limited preclinical evidence being available in the public domain to support their use. Although some clinical trials have yielded promising results, others have shown no clear survival benefit from particular combination treatments. Here, we present a comprehensive review of combination strategies with TRT reported in the literature to date and evaluate their therapeutic potential.
PURPOSE: Rucaparib, an FDA-approved PARP inhibitor, is used as a single agent in maintenance therapy to provide promising treatment efficacy with an acceptable safety profile in various types of BRCA-mutated cancers. However, not all patients receive the same benefit from rucaparib-maintenance therapy. A predictive biomarker to help with patient selection for rucaparib treatment and predict clinical benefit is therefore warranted. With this aim, we developed [18F]rucaparib, an 18F-labelled isotopologue of rucaparib, and employed it as a PARP-targeting agent for cancer imaging with PET. Here, we report the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of [18F]rucaparib in human pancreatic cancer models. METHOD: We incorporated the positron-emitting 18F isotope into rucaparib, enabling its use as a PET imaging agent. [18F]rucaparib binds to the DNA damage repair enzyme, PARP, allowing direct visualisation and measurement of PARP in cancerous models before and after PARP inhibition or other genotoxic cancer therapies, providing critical information for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Proof-of-concept evaluations were determined in pancreatic cancer models. RESULTS: Uptake of [18F]rucaparib was found to be mainly dependent on PARP1 expression. Induction of DNA damage increased PARP expression, thereby increasing uptake of [18F]rucaparib. In vivo studies revealed relatively fast blood clearance of [18F]rucaparib in PSN1 tumour-bearing mice, with a tumour uptake of 5.5 ± 0.5%ID/g (1 h after i.v. administration). In vitro and in vivo studies showed significant reduction of [18F]rucaparib uptake by addition of different PARP inhibitors, indicating PARP-selective binding. CONCLUSION: Taken together, we demonstrate the potential of [18F]rucaparib as a non-invasive PARP-targeting imaging agent for pancreatic cancers.
Molecular radiotherapy using 177Lu-DOTATATE is a most effective treatment for somatostatin receptor-expressing neuroendocrine tumors. Despite its frequent and successful use in the clinic, little or no radiobiologic considerations are made at the time of treatment planning or delivery. On positive uptake on octreotide-based PET/SPECT imaging, treatment is usually administered as a standard dose and number of cycles without adjustment for peptide uptake, dosimetry, or radiobiologic and DNA damage effects in the tumor. Here, we visualized and quantified the extent of DNA damage response after 177Lu-DOTATATE therapy using SPECT imaging with 111In-anti-γH2AX-TAT. This work was a proof-of-principle study of this in vivo noninvasive biodosimeter with β-emitting therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. Methods: Six cell lines were exposed to external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or 177Lu-DOTATATE, after which the number of γH2AX foci and the clonogenic survival were measured. Mice bearing CA20948 somatostatin receptor-positive tumor xenografts were treated with 177Lu-DOTATATE or sham-treated and coinjected with 111In-anti-γH2AX-TAT, 111In-IgG-TAT control, or vehicle. Results: Clonogenic survival after external-beam radiotherapy was cell-line-specific, indicating varying levels of intrinsic radiosensitivity. Regarding in vitro cell lines treated with 177Lu-DOTATATE, clonogenic survival decreased and γH2AX foci increased for cells expressing high levels of somatostatin receptor subtype 2. Ex vivo measurements revealed a partial correlation between 177Lu-DOTATATE uptake and γH2AX focus induction between different regions of CA20948 xenograft tumors, suggesting that different parts of the tumor may react differentially to 177Lu-DOTATATE irradiation. Conclusion:111In-anti-γH2AX-TAT allows monitoring of DNA damage after 177Lu-DOTATATE therapy and reveals heterogeneous damage responses.
ParaSHIFT agents have shown promise in detecting chemical targets in biological systems by magnetic resonance, but few studies have used transition metal complexes for this purpose. Here we report our investigations into CoMe6trenCl (tren = tris(2-aminoethyl)amine) as a paraSHIFT agent. The paramagnetic region of the 1H NMR spectrum shows characteristic spectral profiles in the presence of fluoride, acetate, lactate and citrate in aqueous solution. These distinctive NMR shifts of each anion are maintained even in mixtures of anions.
Hypoxia-Responsive Cobalt Complexes in Tumor Spheroids: Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies.
Dense tumors are resistant to conventional chemotherapies due to the unique tumor microenvironment characterized by hypoxic regions that promote cellular dormancy. Bioreductive drugs that are activated in response to this hypoxic environment are an attractive strategy for therapy with anticipated lower harmful side effects in normoxic healthy tissue. Cobalt bioreductive pro-drugs that selectively release toxic payloads upon reduction in hypoxic cells have shown great promise as anticancer agents. However, the bioreductive response in the tumor microenvironment must be better understood, as current techniques for monitoring bioreduction to Co(II) such as X-ray absorption near-edge structure and extended X-ray absorption fine structure provide limited information on speciation and require synchrotron radiation sources. Here, we present magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an accessible and powerful technique to monitor bioreduction by treating the cobalt complex as an MRI contrast agent and monitoring the change in water signal induced by reduction from diamagnetic Co(III) to paramagnetic Co(II). Cobalt pro-drugs built upon the tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine ligand scaffold with varying charge were investigated for distribution and activity in a 3D tumor spheroid model by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and MRI. In addition, paramagnetic 1H NMR spectroscopy of spheroids enabled determination of the speciation of activated Co(II)TPAx complexes. This study demonstrates the utility of MRI and associated spectroscopy techniques for understanding bioreductive cobalt pro-drugs in the tumor microenvironment and has broader implications for monitoring paramagnetic metal-based therapies.
Drawing on biology to inspire molecular design: a redox-responsive MRI probe based on Gd(iii)-nicotinamide.
A novel, reversible redox-active MRI probe, GdNR1, has been developed for the study of redox changes associated with diseased states. This system exhibits switching in relaxivity upon reduction and oxidation of the appended nicotinimidium. Relaxivity studies and cyclic voltammetry confirmed the impressive reversibility of this system, at a biologically-relevant reduction potential. A 2.5-fold increase in relaxivity was observed upon reduction of the complex, which corresponds to a change in the number of inner-sphere water molecules, as confirmed by luminescence lifetimes of the Eu(iii) analogue and NMRD studies. This is the first example of a redox-responsive MRI probe utilising the biologically-inspired nicotinimidium redox switch. In the future this strategy could enable the non-invasive identification of hypoxic tissue and related cardiovascular disease.
Imaging DNA damage response by γH2AX in vivo predicts treatment response to Lutetium-177 radioligand therapy and suggests senescence as a therapeutically desirable outcome.
Rationale: An effective absorbed dose response relationship is yet to be established for Lutetium-177 based radionuclide therapies such as 177Lu-DOTATATE and 177Lu-PSMA. The inherent biological heterogeneity of neuroendocrine and prostate cancers may make the prospect of establishing cohort-based dose-response relationships unobtainable. Instead, an individual-based approach, monitoring the dose-response within each tumor could provide the necessary metric to monitor treatment efficacy. Methods: We developed a dual isotope SPECT imaging strategy to monitor the change over time in the relationship between 177Lu-DOTATATE and 111In-anti-γH2AX-TAT, a modified radiolabelled antibody that allows imaging of DNA double strand breaks, in mice bearing rat pancreatic cancer xenografts. The dynamics of γH2AX foci, apoptosis and senescence following exposure to 177Lu-DOTATATE was further investigated in vitro and in ex vivo tumor sections. Results: The change in slope of the 111In-anti-γH2AX-TAT to 177Lu signal between days 5 and 7 was found to be highly predictive of survival (r = 0.955, P < 0.0001). This pivotal timeframe was investigated further in vitro: clonogenic survival correlated with the number of γH2AX foci at day 6 (r = -0.995, P < 0.0005). While there was evidence of continuously low levels of apoptosis, delayed induction of senescence in vitro appeared to better account for the γH2AX response to 177Lu. The induction of senescence was further investigated by ex vivo analysis and corresponded with sustained retention of 177Lu within tumor regions. Conclusions: Dual isotope SPECT imaging can provide individualized tumor dose-responses that can be used to predict lutetium-177 treatment efficacy. This bio-dosimeter metric appears to be dependent upon the extent of senescence induction and suggests an integral role that senescence plays in lutetium-177 treatment efficacy.
BACKGROUND: Medical students' preparedness for clinical practice is well researched, yet little is known on the extent to which students are being prepared for a medical career. This paper reports the construction of a short medical inventory titled eXploring medical sTudents' caReer reAdiness (XTRA) to measure students' career readiness based on Super's theory of career maturity. APPROACH: We designed an instrument consisting of a series of 5-point Likert-scale to identify participants competencies regarding career exploration and planning during their undergraduate studies. The instrument was completed by 348 medical students from 41 universities in the United Kingdom. We examined the validity and reliability of the instrument through Exploratory Factor Analysis, Cronbach's coefficient α and Pearson correlation. EVALUATION: Exploratory Factor Analysis revealed that 16 of the 20-items survey were aligned with the exploration stage of Super's theory: Crystallisation (Career goals), Specification (Career pathways) and Implementation (Career accomplishments). The four items that formed two separate statistical factors were specific to a current medical career in the UK. Internal reliability for Super's factor subscales were acceptable (α = 0.71 to α = 0.81). A significant positive relationship was found between students' overall rating of career readiness and the three factors, indicating construct validity. IMPLICATIONS: The XTRA Inventory is a short instrument with construct and content validity specifically designed to measure career readiness of medical students. Further work on its psychometric properties will help establish this inventory to be used as a guidance and career counselling tool by medical educators and educational institutions in developing career development programmes.