Tiny tool to control growing blood vessels opens new potential in tumor research

Feb 19, 2009
Tiny cultaivation chamber for growing blood vessels. Photo: Sara Thorslund

Researchers at Uppsala University have developed a new tool that makes it possible to study the signals in the body that control the generation of blood vessels.  The researchers’ findings, published in the new issue of Lab on a Chip, enable scientists to determine what signals in the body attract or repel blood vessels, knowledge that is extremely interesting in tumor research.

The new invention is a tiny cell cultivation chamber of silicon plastic in which researchers can cultivate blood-vessel-rich tissue and simultaneously create targeted signals that instruct the vessels to go in a certain direction. This is of great interest to the international research world.

Angiogenesis is the process in the body that forms new blood cells, a process that is vital for life but can also be fatal in the worst case. Angiogenesis is desirable, for instance, in connection with wound healing, when new tissue needs to be grown. Undesirable angiogenesis, on the other hand, often occurs in connection with tumor growth. Through the newly generated blood vessels in the vicinity of the tumor, tumor cells receive nourishment and oxygen, which creates the conditions for tumor growth. One way to limit tumor growth may therefore be to counteract the new formation of blood vessels in the tumor, thereby cutting off the supply of nourishment and oxygen to the diseased area.

The scientists Irmeli Berkefors and Johan Kreuger’s research is geared toward understanding the signals that control both normal and pathological angiogenesis. To understand this, it is important to construct experimental model systems in which they can study how concentration gradients of various signal proteins affect the direction in which a vessel grows.

“Our new method enables us to recreate and study gradients that control how blood vessels grow in the body. This is something of a research breakthrough. Now we can systematically evaluate newly identified signals that we hope can ultimately be used to control angiogenesis,” says Johan Kreuger.

The method can also be used to unearth new knowledge regarding how tumor cells and nerve cells grow and move toward gradients of signal proteins.

More information: Lab on a chip, www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journal… cle.asp?doi=b814691h

Provided by Uppsala Universitet

Explore further: Picturing peanut contamination with near infrared hyperspectral imaging

Related Stories

Building a better course starts with the syllabus

Mar 17, 2015

Recent award-winning research from the University of Virginia's Teaching Resource Center shows that tailoring teaching to how students learn improves courses and creates long-lasting impact.

New nanogel for drug delivery

Feb 19, 2015

Scientists are interested in using gels to deliver drugs because they can be molded into specific shapes and designed to release their payload over a specified time period. However, current versions aren't ...

Team enlarges brain samples, making them easier to image

Jan 15, 2015

Beginning with the invention of the first microscope in the late 1500s, scientists have been trying to peer into preserved cells and tissues with ever-greater magnification. The latest generation of so-called ...

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

Sep 20, 2014

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Feb 19, 2009
Cells don't eat! They opperate on ENERGY after maturing! The"angiogenesis" in tumors MAY be a "TEMPERATURE" response in the body's effort to LOWER THE TEMPERATURE of over-active cells! Mitosis accelerates with Temp. Cool and it slows!
as temperature rises! COOL the cell and it slows!!!

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.