Solid cancers generally contain areas with abnormally low levels of oxygen. Such areas are denoted hypoxic. It has long been known that cancer cells in such hypoxic micro-environments are resistant to treatment.
Recent research has furthermore shown that hypoxia in tumors is one of the major drivers of metastatic spread of cancer, the major cause of death by the disease. Thus, hypoxia is responsible for a double effect of reducing the potential of a successful treatment of the cancer patient: Resistance to treatment and ability to spread. At the same time the very low level of oxygen found in solid tumors are specific to cancer.
Therefore, if one could develop methods that specifically located and inactivated cells in hypoxic areas one might obtain a cancer-specific effect, selective for the most harmful of the cancer cells. This development is the core task of the METOXIA project.