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of vascular anomalies. The new findings suggest, for the first time, that angiogenesis also plays a role in the progression of vascular malformations, raising the possibility of curbing these difficult-to-treat anomalies with anti-angiogenic drugs, in particular MMP inhibitors.

Current treatment for vascular malformations consists of surgery, embolization or sclerotherapy, which can be dangerous, deforming, or produce unsatisfactory results.

Children's Hospital Boston researchers have in 1980 already showed that growth of hemangiomas is known to be angiogenesis-dependent and can be suppressed with anti-angiogenic drugs –currently, corticosteroids and vincristine. "Prior to this study, we had thought it was not possible to treat vascular malformations with drugs, since congenital anomalies generally do not respond to drugs," says Steven Fishman, MD, a surgeon on Children's Vascular Anomalies team. "This study gives us hope that with further research we'll be able to develop drug treatments."

Urine testing for MMPs may help physicians know when a vascular anomaly is about to become aggressive and needs intervention. "It can be very hard to tell whether an anomaly will progress," Fishman says. "It can sit there and do nothing, or go on to destroy the nose or other nearby tissues. What we've shown that the presence of MMPs in urine correlates with how aggressive the lesions are."

News Extract from - http://www.childrenshospital.org/research/. Contact: Elizabeth Andrews elizabeth.andrews@childrens.harvard.edu 617-355-6420 Children's Hospital Boston
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