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Innovative method to starve tumors
Date:2/11/2009

This release is available in French.

Montreal, February 11th, 2009 - The development of cancerous tumours is highly dependent on the nutrients the tumours receive through the blood. The team of Dr. Janusz Rak, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the Montreal Children's Hospital, including Dr. Khalid Al-Nedawi and Brian Meehan, has just discovered a new mechanism that tumours use to stimulate the growth of the blood vessels that feed them. The researchers have also proposed a new way to control this process, which may translate into future therapies. These findings were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

An innovative method

According to the researchers, tumour cells can release "bubbles" called microvesicles, which allow the tumours to communicate with the endothelial cells of blood vessels and stimulate changes in their behaviour. The microvesicles are armed with specific cancer proteins as they leave the tumour. When they are taken up by endothelial cells, the specific cancer proteins that they carry can trigger mechanisms that promote the abnormal formation of new blood vessels. The vessels then grow towards the tumour and supply it with the nutrients it requires to grow.

"We had already demonstrated the existence of these vesicles as well as their importance in the communication process between cancer cells and their environment. But this new discovery is much more targeted and represents a new direction in terms of therapy," said a delighted Dr. Rak.

to starve tumors

In fact, a family of molecules derived from annexin V seems to effectively fight this process and ultimately may help "starve" the tumour. "The molecule we used is effective both in vitro and in vivo. It prevents the formation of new blood ve
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Contact: Isabelle Kling
isabelle.kling@muhc.mcgill.ca
514-843-1560
McGill University Health Centre
Source:Eurekalert

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