Scientists clear the way to alternative anti-angiogenic cancer therapy

Jan 07, 2011

Belgian scientists attached to VIB and K.U.Leuven have succeeded in decoding a potential new anti-cancer mechanism. The researchers discovered that normalizing abnormal tumor blood vessels through HRG (histidine-rich glycoprotein) prevents metastasis of tumor cells and enhances chemotherapy efficiency. In tumors, vessels formation is disturbed, leading to inefficient delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs and allowing cancer cells to escape to other parts of the body (metastasis). The normalization of tumor blood vessel formation through HRG works by repressing the production of the Placental Growth Factor PlGF. Anti-PlGF therapy is now being tested as a new agent against cancer by ThromboGenics in collaboration with Roche. The recently discovered mechanism offers alternative possibilities for cancer treatment.

Every growing tissue is supplied with oxygen and nutrients through our blood vessels. However, tumors grow much faster than normal tissue and have a higher need for nutrients. Consequently, start generating growth factors to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. However, the resulting blood vessels are of abnormal shape, causing poor blood flow and little oxygen supply to the . The oxygen shortage encourages and eventually leads to a . Furthermore, the abnormal shape of the blood vessels hampers the supply and efficiency of anti-cancer drugs.

Conventional anti-angiogenic in which a growth factor is eliminated may aggravate tumor metastasis, becase. Because of this, there has in recent years been a greater focus on anti-angiogenic therapies which normalize the blood vessels supplying the tumor. This would reduce the oxygen shortage, with the result that the cancer cells will tend to travel less to other parts of the body and anti-cancer drugs can be delivered more efficiently.

Charlotte Rolny, Max Mazzone and their colleagues from the VIB Vesalius Research Center, K.U.Leuven, have under the direction of Peter Carmeliet and in collaboration with VIB researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and colleagues from Sweden studied the mechanism behind the known anti-cancer activity of the protein HRG. The results of their experiments show that HRG, a protein distributed in the tumor stroma, displays anti-cancer activity by combating tumor progression and spread and stimulating normalization of tumor blood vessels. The underlying basis of this action is the capacity of HRG to suppress the angiogenic factor PlGF.

Revealing the mechanism behind the anti-cancer activity of HRG opens up new horizons for . The larger a tumor becomes, the higher its oxygen requirement. However, the tumor vessels that are formed are abnormal in shape, leading to poor blood and oxygen flow. This oxygen shortage stimulates cancer cell metastasis. Stimulating HRG in the tumor stroma counters tumor progression and spread while at the same time being conducive to normalization of which enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy. Moreover, these data also support eliminating PlGF for the treatment of cancer.

Explore further: Overweight linked to 500,000 cancer cases per year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Normalizing' tumor vessels leaves cancer more benign

Feb 12, 2009

A report publishing online on February 12th in the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, suggests a counterintuitive new method to make cancer less likely to spread: by normalizing the shape of tumors' blood vessels to ...

New way to combat cancer

Nov 14, 2006

In many forms of cancer the tumor encounters a lack of oxygen, a condition that the tumor tries to prevent in various ways. A research group with its base at Lund University in Sweden is now presenting findings that may make ...

Precancerous stem cells can form tumor blood vessels

Feb 20, 2008

Tumors require a blood supply to grow, but how they acquire their network of blood vessels is poorly understood. A new study here shows that tumor blood vessels can develop from precancerous stem cells, a recently discovered ...

Recommended for you

How a common antacid could lead to cheaper anti-cancer drugs

31 minutes ago

A popular indigestion medication can increase survival in colorectal cancer, according to research published in ecancermedicalscience. But in fact, scientists have studied this for years - and a group of cancer advocates want t ...

Vaccines may make war on cancer personal

42 minutes ago

In the near future, physicians may treat some cancer patients with personalized vaccines that spur their immune systems to attack malignant tumors. New research led by scientists at Washington University ...

Funding to investigate an alternative to chemotherapy

1 hour ago

Professor Simon Rule, Professor in Haematology at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Consultant Haematologist at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, has been awarded a significant grant by Cancer ...

Enzyme may be key to cancer progression in many tumors

1 hour ago

Mutations in the KRAS gene have long been known to cause cancer, and about one third of solid tumors have KRAS mutations or mutations in the KRAS pathway. KRAS promotes cancer formation not only by driving ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

davidemerson
not rated yet Jan 11, 2011
Curcumin is a natural anti-oxidant, natural angio-genesis supplement- it has both anti cancer properties- it chemo sensitizes tumors as well as reduces toxic side effects-
Go to peoplebeatingcancer.org and search "curcumin"

David Emerson
peoplebeatingcancer.org

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.