Scientists identify a key molecule that blocks abnormal blood vessel growth in tumors

September 21, 2011

A new and better understanding of blood vessel growth and vascular development (angiogenesis) in cancer has been made possible by research carried out by a team of scientists from Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of Florida, Harvard University, Yale University and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

The research team published the results of their investigation in a recent issue of .

"Vascular development is a fundamental that is tightly controlled by both pro-and anti-angiogenic mechanisms," said Edward Seto, Ph.D., a co-author of the study and professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular Oncology at Moffitt. "Physiological occurs in adults only under specific settings. Excess angiogenesis contributes to a variety of diseases, including cancer. In cancer, (VEGF) is commonly overproduced."

The goal of the research was to determine how angiogenesis is regulated by positive and negative biological activities.

"Understanding the biological principles that direct vascular growth has important because cancers are highly vascularized," concluded Seto.

This meant seeking a better understanding of the relationship between the chromatin insulator binding factor CTCF and how it regulates VEGF expression.

"At the heart of vascular development is VEGF which, in precise doses, is an important stimulator of normal blood vessel growth," explained Seto. "However, VEGF – probably the most important stimulator of normal and pathological – is regulated by a number of factors."

According to Seto, the study suggests that CTCF can block VEGF from being activated. Therefore, targeting CTCF may be an effective way to fine tune VEGF and control angiogenesis. The potential to manipulate CTCF opens a window to regulate VEGF and subsequently, the potential to manage angiogenesis and cancer.

"The real significance of this work has been apparent in experiments done at the University of Florida and at Harvard University, where our colleagues used mouse models to demonstrate that depletion of CTCF produces excess angiogenesis in animals," explained Seto. "Like finding a small key piece in a giant puzzle, it's truly exciting."

Explore further: New molecular pathway regulating angiogenesis may fight retinal disease, cancers

Related Stories

New molecular pathway regulating angiogenesis may fight retinal disease, cancers

May 29, 2011
Scientists identify in the journal Nature a new molecular pathway used to suppress blood vessel branching in the developing retina – a finding with potential therapeutic value for fighting diseases of the retina and ...

Recommended for you

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

July 18, 2017
Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its ...

0 comments

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.