Cancer / Tumor Biology

Hypoxia is a well known aspect of cancer biology. The Warburg Effect describes how tumor cells use metabolic pathways adapted to the low oxygen conditions (0-4% O2) in poorly vascularized, highly competitive tumor environments. Pathophysiologic hypoxia is a contributing factor in carcinogenesis, cell cycle, metabolism, angiogenesis, metastatic progression, induction of stem-like traits, immune evasion, and therapeutic resistance.

Hypoxia’s role in cancer cell phenotype is leading researchers to simulate the hypoxic cancer microenvironment in cell-based experiments to gain better understanding of tumors. Physiologically relevant oxygen environments improve the predictive capacity of cell-based assays. Cancer scientists Insert hypoxia chambers into existing CO2 incubators as an economical method to perform low oxygen (hypoxic) cell cultures.

Brief interruptions of hypoxia occurs during handling in open hoods. These disruptions alter the function of cells and are preveneted by hypoxic workstations (or glove boxes) which maintain constant control of O2 during all steps of cell incubation, cell manipulation, and cell analysis.