A new drug that shrinks tumours by sabotaging their blood supply may work against cancers that have become resistant to standard anti-angiogenic therapies.
Inhibitors of the molecule Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) can shrink tumours in a variety of models, two papers in Nature report. The drug causes an increase in vascularity, but the newly formed blood vessels do not function properly and the tumours become starved of oxygen.
Other anti-angiogenic drugs that target a different protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), or its receptor, are already in the clinic but they are not effective against all tumours. Dll4 blockers may work against these anti-VEGF-resistant cancers, say Gavin Thurston and Minhong Yan; they may also work well in combination with anti-VEGF therapies.
Gavin Thurston (Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Tarrytown, NY, USA)
Minhong Yan (Genentech, South San Francisco, CA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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