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Hypoxia Responsive Drug Delivery Systems in Tumor Therapy

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 19 ]


Houman Alimoradi, Siddharth S. Matikonda, Allan B. Gamble, Gregory I. Giles and Khaled Greish   Pages 2808 - 2820 ( 13 )


Hypoxia is a common characteristic of solid tumors. It is mainly determined by low levels of oxygen resulting from imperfect vascular networks supplying most tumors. In an attempt to improve the present chemotherapeutic treatment and reduce associated side effects, several prodrug strategies have been introduced to achieve hypoxia-specific delivery of cytotoxic anticancer agents. With the advances in nanotechnology, novel delivery systems activated by the consequent outcomes of hypoxia have been developed. However, developing hypoxia responsive drug delivery systems (which only depend on low oxygen levels) is currently naïve.

This review discusses four main hypoxia responsive delivery systems: polymeric based drug delivery systems, oxygen delivery systems combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, anaerobic bacteria which are used for delivery of genes to express anticancer proteins such as tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-α) and hypoxia-inducible transcription factors 1 alpha (HIF1α) responsive gene delivery systems.


Tumor hypoxia, delivery systems, nitroimidazole, azobenzene, metal complexes, oxygen carriers.


Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Otago, Adams Building, 3rd Floor, 18 Frederick street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand.

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