Partially blocking blood vessels' energy source may stop cancer growth, blindness, other conditions

Inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels is a common strategy for treating a range of conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases, and age-related macular degeneration. Unfortunately, drug inefficiency, resistance, and relapse have limited the success of this approach. Now new research publishing online December 12 in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism reveals that targeting the metabolism of blood vessels may be a way around these shortcomings.

"Our findings reveal a new strategy to block blood vessel growth in various pathological conditions by depriving them of energy and building blocks necessary for growth," says senior author Dr. Peter Carmeliet of the University of Leuven and the Vesalius Research Center, VIB in Belgium.

While current strategies to thwart pathological blood vessel formation focus primarily on inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), this latest research centers around blocking glycolysis, the process that rely on for generating most of the energy they need to multiply and migrate. Endothelial cells form the inner lining of a blood vessel and provide a barrier between the vessel wall and blood.

Dr. Carmeliet and his team previously found that the glycolytic activator PFKFB3 promotes blood vessel formation by stimulating glycolysis in endothelial cells. In their new work, the investigators discovered that blocking PFKFB3 with a small molecule called 3PO reduced blood vessel sprouting by inhibiting the proliferation and movement of endothelial cells.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

3PO also amplified the effects of VEGF blockade. And although 3PO reduced glycolysis only partially and transiently, this sufficed to decrease pathological in both ocular and inflammatory laboratory models. "As many cells in the body need glycolysis for growth and survival, the partial and transient reduction of glycolysis might limit the side effects and toxicity of this therapy in the clinic," Dr. Carmeliet notes.

The findings could lead to new treatments that block the excessive that supports cancer spread, causes blindness, and fuels such as psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.

More information: Cell Metabolism, Schoors et al.: "Partial and Transient Reduction of Glycolysis by PFKFB3 Blockade Reduces Pathological Angiogenesis." dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2013.11.008

Related Stories

Protein responsible for 'bad' blood vessel growth discovered

Jul 17, 2013

The discovery of a protein that encourages blood vessel growth, and especially 'bad' blood vessels – the kind that characterise diseases as diverse as cancer, age-related macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis – ...

Recommended for you

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

1 hour ago

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry ...

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

7 hours ago

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Firm targets 3D printing synthetic tissues, organs

8 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Oxford spin-out, OxSyBio, will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company ...

User comments