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Targeting sugar on blood vessels may inhibit cancer growth

uced by Genentech, has been shown to block a major pro-angiogenesis molecule called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), thus inhibiting the growth of vasculature. The drug has been used along with chemotherapy in humans to successfully inhibit the growth of tumors in colon and lung cancers.

"If novel drugs can be developed to target tumor heparan sulfate, we might be able to make a leap in cancer-fighting therapies, because several molecules critical to tumor endothelial growth also bind to heparan sulfate," Fuster said. "Altering this binding would allow for suppression of a broader array of the tumor ‘fuels?for angiogenesis, without a major effect on normal vascular function."

The researchers hope to develop novel therapies by inhibiting endothelial heparan sulfate in the tumor environment. An example would be developing small-molecule inhibitors of Ndst1. By affecting a broad array of molecules ?such as VEGF, fibroblast growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, or others that impact angiogenesis in a variety of carcinomas ?this therapy could be used to inhibit cancer growth and metastasis with fewer side effects.
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Source:University of California - San Diego


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