Effect of drugs on the tumour microenvironment

One challenge with treating solid tumours is ensuring the effective delivery of chemotherapy drugs to all the cells within a tumour. Inefficient penetration of an anti-cancer drug results in insufficient doses reaching cells distant from the tumour’s blood vessels. As a result, these cells may survive and proliferate, allowing the tumour to re-grow. In addition, a low drug exposure may actually contribute to tumour cells developing resistance to a drug. Lynsey Huxham is examining the tumour microenvironment after drug administration and determining which drugs penetrate well. She is focusing on the effects of a drug by examining dividing cells and those undergoing apoptosis (cell death) in relation to their distance from blood vessels. By understanding the process of extra-vascular drug distribution, she hopes to aid efforts to improve the administration and delivery of cancer drugs, as well as offer insight into the design of new chemotherapy drugs.