June 2010

FASEB Listed as Cancer Resource, Publishes New Article on Angiogenesis

 

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology recently has been listed as a resource on Cancer.net, a peer-reviewed, patient education website run by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. This listing is largely due to FASEB’s Breakthroughs in Bioscience and Horizons in Bioscience series, both of which have addressed the development of treatments for a variety of cancers, including breast cancer and cervical cancer, as well as broad based oncology therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies. It is in this latter category that FASEB’s most recent Breakthroughs in Bioscience article, “Life’s Blood: Angiogenesis in Health and Disease,” falls.

Pioneering scientist Judah Folkman strongly believed in angiogenesis as a unifying concept for developing new disease therapies, and this article details the centuries of vascular physiology research that led to Folkman’s groundbreaking work showing the role of angiogenesis in tumor growth and development. These discoveries have led to an array of treatment options for diseases ranging from cancer to autoimmune disorders. “Life’s Blood” describes both sides of the angiogenesis story: how inhibiting angiogenesis can prove pivotal in halting tumor growth and how promoting angiogenesis can be used to treat chronic wounds and diabetic ulcers.

From the first proposal in the early 17th century that blood circulated throughout the tissues under propulsion of the heart, scientists have been fascinated with the delicate network of vessels and capillaries that are integral to the maintenance of life and health in living creatures. Investigations in a variety of species allowed researchers to study the growth and proliferation of tiny capillaries and larger vessels in response to stimuli or tissue damage. As early as 1865, it was observed that tumors were filled with blood vessels. However, it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that Folkman and his colleagues postulated that tumor growth was dependent on the growth of new blood vessels, or angiogenesis. Interfere with that process, they theorized, and you could slow or stop the growth of cancerous tumors.

For more information

• Click here for a copy of “Life’s Blood: Angiogenesis in Health and Disease.”

While initial scientific skepticism eventually gave way to sensationalized hype by the popular press, the fact remains that millions of patients now are treated with therapies based on inhibition or promotion of angiogenesis. More than a dozen drugs have been approved, including the blockbuster cancer drug, Avastin. Although it’s not the “cure” for cancer that some headlines have proclaimed it to be, angiogenesis remains a promising area of research and development for tackling a host of diseases. FASEB’s new Breakthroughs article tells the story behind the science of angiogenesis, including the roles of basic research, animal models and federal funding of life science research, at a level suitable for nonscientists. The article will be distributed, as are all of the articles in the series, to Congress, the media, educators and scientists. These articles are freely available on the FASEB website, and all FASEB society members are welcome to request free hardcopies for their own educational and advocacy purposes via that same website.

Carrie D. Wolinetz (cwolinetz@faseb.org) is director of scientific affairs and public relations for the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB.


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