Scientists clear the way to alternative anti-angiogenic cancer therapy

January 7, 2011, VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)

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.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers use a molecular Trojan horse to deliver chemotherapeutic drug to cancer cells

February 23, 2018
A research team at the University of California, Riverside has discovered a way for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel to target migrating, or circulating, cancer cells, which are responsible for the development of tumor metastases.

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

February 23, 2018
Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient's tumour could help doctors tailor treatment, according to new research.

An under-the-radar immune cell shows potential in fight against cancer

February 23, 2018
One of the rarest of immune cells, unknown to scientists a decade ago, might prove to be a potent weapon in stopping cancer from spreading in the body, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

February 23, 2018
Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin's theory—are the means ...

Putting black skin cancer to sleep—for good

February 22, 2018
An international research team has succeeded in stopping the growth of malignant melanoma by reactivating a protective mechanism that prevents tumor cells from dividing. The team used chemical agents to block the enzymes ...

Cancer risk associated with key epigenetic changes occurring through normal aging process

February 22, 2018
Some scientists have hypothesized that tumor-promoting changes in cells during cancer development—particularly an epigenetic change involving DNA methylation—arise from rogue cells escaping a natural cell deterioration ...

1 comment

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.