Overcoming tumour hypoxia

Author(s): Professor Catharine West, Professor Kaye Williams

Hospital: The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 42, 492, 31


Cancer occurs as a result of genetic changes and the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells that escape normal homeostatic control mechanisms. As tumour growth outstrips blood supply, cells become hypoxic and the decreased oxygen levels stimulate responses to maximise the chance of cell survival. These biological responses to hypoxia promote aggressive features in tumour cells. Also, hypoxic cells are resistant to radiation and some chemotherapeutic drugs. The poor prognosis associated with tumours with low levels of oxygen underpins research into the development of approaches for targeting and overcoming tumour hypoxia.

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