Unidirectional Hypoxia Activated Prodrugs

The Problem - Hypoxic cancer cells

All solid tumours contain hypoxic regions; areas where oxygen levels are very low.

Most cells die in these conditions, but some highly resistant cancer cells can survive, effectively lying dormant until oxygen levels improve.

When oxygen levels do increase, these cells reactivate, break away from the tumour and spread throughout the body; a process known as metastasis.

Hypoxic regions

Conventional therapies don't work

Conventional cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy target rapidly dividing cells and rely on a good oxygen and blood supply to work. These treatments therefore have little or no effect on the dormant hypoxic cancer cells, which are often located furthest away from the tumour blood supply.

Typically, after a course of treatment has finished, the tumour will shrink and show signs of complete remission. However, when blood supplies and oxygen return, the untreated dormant hypoxic cancer cells reactivate, resulting in metastases; cancer spread.

This is one of the reasons why cancers often return after conventional treatments.

Hypoxic cancer cells resistant to conventional therapies

uHAPs reach hypoxic cancer cells

OncoTherics’ unidirectional Hypoxia Activated Prodrug (uHAP) technology has been designed specifically to target hypoxia resistant cancer cells.

These so-called uHAPs are non-toxic to normal cells and are highly penetrative, rapidly passing through all cells in the body including the hypoxic micro-environments of tumours.

In this way, uHAPs are uniquely able to reach areas of the tumour that have been previously inaccessible to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The combination of Oncotherics' uHAPs  alongside conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy, now presents an exciting opportunity to treat the whole tumour.

Further, due to their non-toxic nature, the addition of a uHAP to existing treatment regimens is unlikely to add to the burden of side effects commonly experienced with conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

OCT1002 saturates all tissuees, including hypoxic regions

uHAPs kill hypoxic cancer cells

When uHAPs reach the hypoxic regions of tumours, the low oxygen levels cause them to become irreversibly converted to highly toxic anti-cancer drugs known as Topoisomerase II inhibitors.

These drugs are highly toxic to cells. They work by interfering with the cells own DNA replication. When the dormant cancer cells reactivate and try to multiply, they are killed, allowing no opportunity for further cancer spread.

OCT1002 converts to highly toxic OCT1001 in hypoxic cells and kills the cells when they become active