Monday, November 22, 2010

Brain Tumors Grow Their Own Blood Supply - ScienceNOW

Brain Tumors Grow Their Own Blood Supply - ScienceNOW

A quickie....this is an interesting new snippet on the science of cancer. Many types of cancer develop a new blood supply to bring nutrients in and take metabolic products out. Drugs to prevent the development of the networks of blood vessels that support this blood supply can be effective at reducing tumor size. These drugs are called anti-angiogenic drugs and they also work to prevent new blood vessel growth at the back of the eye in macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the over 60's. It has always been assumed that the new blood vessels grow from the outside of a tumor and invade the tissues to provide the blood supply. The study above, just published in Science Journal, suggest some brain tumors, called glioblastomas, can generate some of their own blood supply that appear be able to avoid the effects of the traditional angiogenic drugs. It seems at least some of the endothelium that lines the new blood vessels is differentiated from stem cells inside the tumor. New drug treatments could be aimed selectively at these unique endothelial cells, or could work further upstream to prevent the differentiation of the stem cells altogether.
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