Altogether this new study provides novel and important insights into the mechanisms by which VEGF controls tumour growth. VEGF signalling in endothelial cells is critical to sustain the formation of the vascular niche, promoting indirectly the renewal of skin cancer stem cells. VEGF secretion by cancer stem cells acts also directly on cancer stem cells by a Neuropilin 1 dependent mechanism to promote cancer stem cell renewal and tumor growth.
"Anti-VEGF therapies are currently used to treat cancers. These new results have important implications for the prevention and treatment of different epithelial cancers, as new therapies blocking VEGF and/or Neuropilin 1 functions in cancer cells may be more effective for the treatment of certain cancers compared to the therapeutic strategies blocking VEGF function only in endothelial cells" said Cdric Blanpain, the senior and corresponding author of the Nature paper.
Collaboration between Flemish and Walloon academic institutions (VIB, K.U.Leuven, UGent, ULB, FNRS, Welbio
This work is also a great example of a very effective collaboration between Walloon (ULB, FNRS, Welbio) and Flemish Universities (VIB-K.U.Leuven and VIB-UGhent).
"This collaboration nicely illustrates the great strength of a national collaboration mixing the different and unique expertises of the different Belgian groups with the same and unique goal of better understanding and treating cancer." said Peter Carmeliet (VIB-K.U.Leuven), co-author of the paper.
In conclusion, this new study, published in the online early edition of Nature, identifies a dual role for VEGF in regulating skin cancer stem cells and tumor progression.
|Contact: Joris Gansemans|
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)