Regulating Angiogenesis: A New Therapeutic Strategy

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Angiogenesis is the proliferation of endothelial and smooth muscle cells to form new blood vessels. Largely muted after adolescence, angiogenesis may be reignited by cancerous cells. Neoangiogenesis plays a primary role in tumor growth and metastases. Antiangiogenic therapy to limit and even reverse the growth of tumors are under investigation and showing promise. A derivative of fumagillin, TNP 470, is the first angiogenesis inhibitor to be given to humans. Surprisingly, several potent inhibitors are derived from tumors themselves. Researchers now recognize that stimulation of angiogenesis may have a place in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Reestablishing blood flow to ischemic tissue through angiogenesis may provide a biologic "bypass" for patients with ischemic heart disease. The same applies to the treatment of peripheral vascular disease.

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