Dr. Ze'ev Ronai, who is leading the research project at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, has found that tumors deprived of oxygen activate a transcription factor called HIF-1a, which help them compensate and survive.
The researcher says that inhibiting HIF-1a can cause tumors to experience oxygen deprivation due to insufficient blood flow.
Dr. Ronai's laboratory has already shown proof of this concept by inhibiting PHD3, a regulator of HIF-1a.
He says that binding of short protein fragments to PHD3 results in HIF-1a degradation, and halts growth of metastatic tumors in mice.
He and his colleagues are presently trying to determine how small molecule compounds might accomplish the same task.