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June 17, 2007

Study: Tumor Vessels Distinquished By Unique Molecular Markers

Topics: Medicine
angiogenesis.jpg

Results from a new study reveal that tumor vessels contain a unique molecular fingerprint that can be used to distinguish them from normal proliferating vessels, which distinguish them from growing blood vessels in healthy tissues and those that are associated with tumors (angiogenesis). Until now, the ability to distinguish growing blood vessels in tumors from those of healthy tissues, especially at the molecular level, has remained elusive. The finding offers promising implications for the development of more selective vascular-targeted anticancer therapeutics:

A major strategy for destroying cancer cells has been to disrupt the growing blood vessels that support tumor growth. However, current vascular-targeted therapies may also damage normal growing blood vessels. This is a concern because the formation of new blood vessels, or angiogenesis, continues to occur in adults, for example, during pregnancy, menstruation, and wound healing. Dr. Brad St. Croix and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute at Frederick executed a series of studies aimed at identifying markers that can be used to distinguish between proliferating blood vessels in normal and diseased tissues.

The researchers systematically examined gene expression patterns in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels derived from normal resting tissues, regenerating tissues, and tumors. A comparison of the normal vessels revealed several organ-specific endothelial genes that could potentially aid in the delivery of molecular medicine to specific anatomical sites. The study also revealed 13 genes that are selectively overexpressed in tumor blood vessels. Although the function of most of the newly identified genes in tumor blood vessels is unclear, many of the genes encode cell surface proteins, making them appealing targets for the development of new therapeutic agents.

More at News-Medical.Net ...

From the article we learn that one of the cell surface molecules identified is CD276, and was found to be frequently over expressed in the blood vessels of a variety of human cancers. The researchers also report that in many of the tumors examined - CD276 was also over expressed by the tumor cells, making this protein a particularly attractive target because a suitable inhibitory molecule might be able to deliver a double blow: one to the tumor cells themselves and the other to the blood vessels that feed it.

Cross posted from New Hope Blog

Posted by Richard at June 17, 2007 10:03 PM



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