Hypoxia is one of the most common phenotypes of malignant tumours. Hypoxia leads to the increased activity of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), which regulate the expression of genes controlling a raft of pro-tumour phenotypes. These include maintenance of the cancer stem cell compartment, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), angiogenesis, immunosuppression, and metabolic reprogramming. Hypoxia can also contribute to the tumour progression in a HIF-independent manner via the activation of a complex signalling network pathway, including JAK-STAT, RhoA/ROCK, NF-κB and PI3/AKT. Recent studies suggest that nanotherapeutics offer a unique opportunity to target the hypoxic microenvironment, enhancing the therapeutic window of conventional therapeutics. In this review, we summarise recent advances in understanding the impact of hypoxia on tumour progression, while outlining possible nanotherapeutic approaches for overcoming hypoxia-mediated resistance.
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Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy