The tumour microenvironment is heterogeneous, both biochemically and structurally. Abnormal vasculature (with inter-vascular distances reaching 300µm or ~40 cell diameters) and dysregulated cell proliferation result in microregional gradients in nutrients, oxygen and drugs.
This biochemical and structural heterogeneity has consequences for cancer treatment. Cells located far from blood vessels are difficult for drugs to reach and because they have little oxygen, are resistant to radiotherapy.
Our group is interested in how the tumour microenvironment influences anticancer treatments including radiation and chemotherapy and have developed methodologies to quantitatively examine the extravascular distribution and effects of small and large molecular weight anticancer agents.
Lab website: http://www.bccrc.ca/dept/ic/radiation-biology-unit/andrew-minchinton