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Angiogenesis and Angiogenesis Inhibitors

Posted 9/24/2014

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  Although it may not be obvious to you, I do try to diversify and cover a lot of territory in this blog. Starting October 1st (see yesterday's entry for more details), that will be even more true as the title changes to Living with Cancer. Now I try to move among research and science and psychosocial and policy topics. This keeps me interested, hopefully does the same for you, and is a little of trying to find something for everyone.

  Today we are back to a geeky topic: angiogenesis and angiogenesis inhibitors to treat cancer. Some of you will remember the great late Dr. Judah Folkman who discovered angiogenesis and suggested a theory of cancer control that has led to much great science. Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels are formed. Since cancer cells, like all other cells, need a blood supply, shutting off that process (angiogensis inhibitors) has been a whole new frontier.

  Here is a good summary from Cancer Net:

Angiogenesis and Angiogenesis Inhibitors to Treat Cancer

Key Messages:

Angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels are formed, underlies much of the growth and spread of cancer.
Drugs that are designed to stop angiogenesis are called angiogenesis inhibitors.
Several angiogenesis inhibitors are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat a variety of cancers.
Angiogenesis inhibitors can have side effects; talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of each of your treatment options.
Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. This process is a normal part of growth and healing. It is also connected to the development of several diseases, including cancer.

Once a tumor grows to a certain size, it requires nutrients and oxygen found in the blood to help it grow, invade nearby tissues, and spread, called metastasis. The tumor sends chemical signals out that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels that carry the blood to it. As a result, each part of the angiogenesis process is a potential target for new cancer treatments. The idea is that if a drug can stop the tumor from receiving a blood supply, the tumor will "starve" and die.

Drugs that block angiogenesis, which are called angiogenesis inhibitors or anti-angiogenics, have become an important part of treatment for many types of cancer.


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