Targeting a master molecule that helps cancer cells survive when blood oxygen levels are low may offer a potentially powerful strategy for blocking tumor growth, say researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The molecule, "hypoxia-inducible factor 1," or HIF-1, controls production of a number of other proteins, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which work in concert to help nurture these stressed cancer cells. Researchers show that genetically jamming HIF-1 damages the vascular microenvironment and impairs tumor growth, according to the study, published in the June 16th issue of Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The resarchers found, for example, that while new blood vessels will still grow in tumors when HIF-1 is blocked, the blood vessels were small, with thin walls, and no lumen -- the passage through which blood flows. The tumors were only about 1/10th the size of cancerous masses seen in a group of control mice.
Laura Sussman | EurekAlert!
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