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Targeting EETs to treat cardiovascular disease may prove a double-edged sword
Date:12/19/2011

Boston, Mass. A group of small molecules called EETs currently under scrutiny as possible treatment targets for a host of cardiovascular diseases may also drive the growth and spread of cancer, according to researchers at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center (DF/CHCC) and other institutions. Their findings also raise the possibility that drugs that block EETs could serve as a new avenue for cancer treatment.

This study, led by Dipak Panigrahy, MD, of DF/CHCC and the Vascular Biology Program at Children's Hospital Boston, appeared online December 19 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

EETs (or epoxyeicosatrienoic acids) are small fatty molecules, part of a larger family of lipids normally produced by the endothelial cells that line blood vessels to control inflammation and the response to injury. These molecules are also potent regulators of blood pressure, leading pharmaceutical companies to investigate compounds that raise EET levels for the treatment of nearly 20 cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.

However, little work has been done to learn whether these molecules themselves might have some role to play in tumor growth or progression. This is despite evidence that enzymes that process EETs are associated with cancer, and that EETs can promote angiogenesis the growth of blood vessels.

"EETs have primarily been studied in models of cardiovascular disease," said the study's lead author, Dipak Panigrahy, MD. "This is the first time that direct administration of exogenous EETs and of specific EET antagonists has been investigated in pre-clinical cancer models."

In order to determine the extent of the relationship between EETs and cancer, Panigrahy and his collaborators conducted a series of studies using animal models of EET activity developed in the laboratory of Darryl Zeldin, MD, at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National
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Contact: Children's Hospital Boston
Colleen.Connolly@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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