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Researchers identify new cell targets for preventing growth of breast and other tumors
Date:4/23/2008

CHAPEL HILL Researchers at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered new targets for cancer treatment aimed at blocking a key step in tumor progression.

This step the creation of new blood vessels enables tumors to grow out of control and ultimately spread cancer to other parts of the body.

Targeting blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis, promises to be less toxic than the standard chemotherapy approach that kills cancer cells and normal cells alike. The new tactic has been shown by others to be successful in the treatment of breast cancer and colon cancer with the drug bevacizumab (commercially known as Avastin), which inhibits an important player in angiogenesis, a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

There is a large amount of data that shows if you block angiogenesis, you can block tumor growth, said Dr. Nancy Klauber-DeMore, associate professor of surgery in the UNC School of Medicine and senior author on the study. But VEGF is not responsible for all of angiogenesis. We wanted to identify more targets for this therapeutic approach.

The most exciting aspect of this study is that we now have a very large list of potential targets that we will continue to work on for at least the next decade, Klauber-DeMore said.

A report of the study appeared online this month in the American Journal of Pathology. It will be published in the May 2008 print edition of the journal.

Angiogenesis only occurs normally in a few instances, such as wound healing, female reproduction and fetal development. But it also plays an important role in the growth and spread of cancer. New blood vessels provide essential nourishment to cancer cells, allowing them to grow, travel to other parts of the body and form new cancers.

Because tumors cannot grow or spread without the formation of new blood vessels, Klauber-DeMore sought ne
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Contact: Dianne Shaw
dgs@med.unc.edu
919-966-5905
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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