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Study Funded by National Foundation for Cancer Research Reveals Imaging Studies May Predict Tumor Response to Anti-Angiogenic Drugs

Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) November 23, 2013

A new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) Early Edition details a study funded in part by the National Foundation for Cancer Research, which indicates magnetic resonance (MR) imaging may be able to discern which patients will benefit more from anti-angiogenic drugs.

An NFCR Fellow, Rakesh K. Jain, Ph.D., is a senior author of the study and the director of the Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology in the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology.

The just-released study shows that cancer patients with glioblastoma—the deadliest form of brain tumor— survived longer with the increased level of blood perfusion due to the anti-angiogenic agent cediranib. The level of blood perfusion was revealed using advanced brain imaging called vessel architectural imaging (VAI) and other MR imaging techniques.

This study also confirms the hypothesis Dr. Jain proposed more than a decade ago on how anti-angiogenic drugs work. These drugs enhance the activity of chemo- and radiation therapy, yet the mechanisms of their action remain unclear. Results from the study suggest that, rather than 'starving' tumors by choking their blood supply as scientists originally thought, it appears that anti-angiogenic drugs actually work through “normalizing” the abnormal, leaky blood vessels that surround the tumors. This normalization process may improve the delivery of chemotherapy drugs and the oxygen that is required for effective radiation therapy.

“This study is a turning point, as it is the result of a decade-long journey towards the confirmation that vascular normalization actually increases tumor perfusion and that increased perfusion, rather than tumor starvation, increases the likelihood of survival,” said Dr. Jain. “I am honored to be a part of this research and NFCR’s pursuit of more effective treatments for glioblastoma patients.”

“NFCR is proud to support this leading-edge research that will help increase survival rates among glioblastoma patients,” said Franklin Salisbury, Jr., President of NFCR. “Being able to improve the effectiveness of treatments for cancer patients is a stepping stone on the way towards finding a cure.”

To read the report and find out more about the study’s implications, please visit

About the National Foundation for Cancer Research
The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is a leading cancer research charity dedicated to funding cancer research and public education relating to cancer prevention, earlier diagnosis, better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for cancer. NFCR promotes and facilitates collaboration among scientists to accelerate the pace of discovery from bench to bedside.

Since 1973, NFCR has provided over $309 million supporting discovery-oriented cancer research focused on understanding how and why cells become cancerous, and on public education relating to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. For more information, please visit


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