Low oxygen, or hypoxic, tumor microenvironments enhances tumor growth behaviors and supports resident immunosuppressive cells. In addition, it the hypoxic microenvironment leads to dysfunction of cytotoxic T cells and promotes tumor mobility. All of these factors have been an impediment to traditional vinca-alkaloid cancer therapies as the microenvironment confers radiotherapy resistance, chemotherapy resistance, and promotes malignant tumor cell phenotypes.
The poor clinical response rates treating solid tumors is attributable to the failure of conventional chemotherapies to completely eradicate these inaccessible, drug-resistant tumor cell populations. Escalating the doses of chemotherapy regimens required to eliminate these inaccessible tumor cells is generally not possible due to severe drug toxicity and adverse side effects.
Cascade Prodrug’s approach is to is to take advantage of the solid tumor microenvironment and to develop assets that selectively target and activate within hypoxic cell populations. By doing so, Cascade will turn an impediment for traditional therapeutics into an advantage for fighting solid tumors. Cascade’s technology has a trifecta of advantages compared to current standards of care: improved safety profile, enhanced efficacy, and greater tumor penetration.