Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Juri Gelovani, M.D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Victor Krasnykh, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edward F. Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chun Li, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David J. Yang, Ph.D.


Tumor growth often outpaces its vascularization, leading to development of a hypoxic tumor microenvironment. In response, an intracellular hypoxia survival pathway is initiated by heterodimerization of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α and HIF-1β, which subsequently upregulates the expression of several hypoxia-inducible genes, promotes cell survival and stimulates angiogenesis in the oxygen-deprived environment. Hypoxic tumor regions are often associated with resistance to various classes of radio- or chemotherapeutic agents. Therefore, development of HIF-1α/β heterodimerization inhibitors may provide a novel approach to anti-cancer therapy. To this end, a novel approach for imaging HIF-1α/β heterodimerization in vitro and in vivo was developed in this study. Using this screening platform, we identified a promising lead candidate and further chemically derivatized the lead candidate to assess the structure-activity relationship (SAR). The most effective first generation drug inhibitors were selected and their pharmacodynamics and anti-tumor efficacy in vivo were verified by bioluminescence imaging (BLI) of HIF-1α/β heterodimerization in the xenograft tumor model. Furthermore, the first generation drug inhibitors, M-TMCP and D-TMCP, demonstrated efficacy as monotherapies, resulting in tumor growth inhibition via disruption of HIF-1 signaling-mediated tumor stromal neoangiogenesis.


HIF-1α/β heterodimerization, HIF-1α inhibitor, cancer therapy, molecular imaging, high-content screnning, split luciferase complementation assay