Researchers at Uppsala University, in collaboration with colleagues in Sweden and abroad, have identified an entirely new mechanism by which a specific protein in the body inhibits formation of new blood vessels. Inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels is an important aspect of, for example, cancer treatment. The study is published in the November issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Research.
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is strictly regulated by a number of molecules that serve to either promote or inhibit the process. Certain diseases are characterised by excessive or insufficient angiogenesis. The rapid growth of tumors, for example, is conditioned on the formation of new blood vessels to supply oxygen and nutrients, which explains why angiogenesis is accelerated in cancer patients.
"At present, there are five approved drugs for inhibiting formation of new blood vessels," says research fellow Anna-Karin Olsson of the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology at Uppsala University, who headed the study. "All of these medications work in a similar way, by influencing the function of one of the agents that promotes angiogenesis. A problem with the medications is that the body develops resistance to them as treatment progresses. Improved knowledge about which molecules promote or inhibit the formation of blood vessels in the body, and the mechanisms by which they operate, is accordingly a research goal."
The study in question involved researchers from Uppsala University collaborating with colleagues in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany to investigate the function of histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG), a plasma protein naturally present in the body. Previous studies involving mice had shown that HRG inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth. The new study demonstrates, among other things, that the HRG fragment responsible for the inhibitory effect is present in human tissue, which suggests th
|Contact: Anna-Karin Olsson|